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As a business owner, you’re no doubt familiar with Yelp, a website that features business listing pages for restaurants, shops, bars, services, hotels, salons and many other types of companies. The service enables users to search for a listing, read customers’ comments and reviews, and enter posts of their own. You can also respond to individual comments and upload pictures to enhance the listing and give potential visitors a glimpse into the business.
In addition to a user’s ability to add content, Yelp updates business listing pages as a means of keeping the information fresh and providing new details as they become available. This updating feature has implications for marketers seeking to boost the online presence of their companies, so it’s important to understand how to use it to your advantage.
Participate in the Conversation
It's great to receive positive reviews and the back patting from customers when they have an enjoyable experience. However, it's not enough to just read these posts and move on. You need to interact with patrons who have visited your business and left reviews. Answer questions, thank them for their comments, and let them know about future events.
Utilize the Announcement Tool for News
If you have a new product release, are welcoming a new employee, or have a seasonal offering on your menu, let your Yelp friends know via the “Announcement tool.” Your post will be visible on your business page, and it increases your likelihood of being discovered by those searching for businesses like yours on Yelp and other search engines.
Stay Away From Freebies
The point of Yelp is for customers to provide objective views on your company and its offerings, so giving discounts, coupons or other perks for adding positive comments is akin to bribery. Other users value the reviews given on Yelp, so they might question these opinions. It also puts your reputation in doubt as a business that pays for positive comments.
Respond to the Negatives
Negative reviews are inevitable, but you can spin them to your advantage by replying to these users with questions or to find out more about their bad experience. Doing so shows that you care and gives the opportunity to showcase your customer service.
Relay Your Story
Though Yelp updates business listing pages, it's up to you to ensure that the story of your business is being told. Draft a few paragraphs about how you started, the customers you serve and how long you've been in business. A story under the "Business Information" tab will make customers feel a close connection with your company.
When Yelp updates business listing pages, company owners can benefit from the increased exposure and other features intended to attract visitors. The site’s tools are easy to use and it’s especially appealing to local customers who trust the reviews and opinions of patrons, as opposed to being “marketed to” by businesses. Companies must take advantage of Yelp’s free tools to drive traffic to both their websites and their front doors.