yelp As a web design and web presence company, the last thing we here at One Website Please want for you and your company is to see you operate on the internet at the complete mercy of websites like Yelp. Between social media accounts, websites, and online marketing, you have the opportunity to say so much more about your company than any review. While feedback from clients can be great, their viewpoint and understanding of your goals, mission, and products is limited. Because you’re the expert of your business, you should be the one steering conversations about it on the web.

That being said, even if you’re very active and on top of your web presences, Yelp does not cease to exist. Clients and customers are still giving feedback. More clients and customers are using that same feedback to wade through your competition. Yelp is a very great tool and can be a boon to your business. It can also be your bane.

That’s why this week, we here at One Website please are sharing five simple ways to use Yelp to your advantage:

Respond to reviews. Client feedback is great. Yelp can potentially give you a ton of it without great investment on your part. But don’t stop at reading the reviews. You should also take the time to respond to each and every one. You can respond one of two ways–privately or publicly. A private response is good when sensitive information is involved, but public comments can be a platform for you to show your engagement, thank customers for their support, and correct information.

Take the time to respond appropriately to negative reviews. Operate with the same diplomacy you would with a disgruntled customer sitting right in front of you. Try to see their review from their point of view–where was service lost? What promise was broken? Offer solutions, be polite, and respond publicly. You want to show your customers that you are engaged with your company and care about the customer experience. Even a bad review can reflect positively on you if you show that much in your response.

Fill out your profile. Not only does this help your customer by giving them information such as your contact information where you operate, it also helps Yelp look more favorably on you. Like most search engines, Yelp has a ranking system. A complete profile can help you rank better on the site. Take advantage of the space Yelp has given you by adding hours of operation, pictures, and more. Remember, some clients may not ever view your website. Your Yelp page may very well be the first and last place they look before reaching out to you for a transaction.

Ask for reviews. If you know a client who has had a great experience with you, ask them to leave you a Yelp review! Yelp had rules about companies getting people to review for them, and they tend to come from scams and paid services to artificially inflate Yelp reviews. (Yelp specifically suggests that you don’t ask for reviews, but rather just let your clients know that you have a Yelp page and let them take it from there.) If your client does indicate they want to do this, however, encourage them to fully fill out their profile, as Yelp sometimes filters out reviews of incomplete, one time profiles.

Post (your own) photos. Most people are very visual. You’ll do nothing but benefit your Yelp page if you take the time to add real photos of your business. In fact, according to one of our sources, people spend more than twice the amount of time on a Yelp business page that has pictures than one that does not. There’s good reasons for that! Not only are images interesting and allow your future customers to “place” themselves at your business venue, it also adds a sense of legitimacy. Because of the photos, they know that you’re not only real, but you’re actually providing the services you say you are.

Your Yelp page, by the way, is not the place to show off all the great stock photo resources we shared with you last week!

Remember, you should never be at the mercy of your Yelp reviews. Take claim of the feedback and use them as an opportunity to show off what you do best.

If you’d like to read more about using Yelp to the advantage of your business, check out our sources here:
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225570
http://www.business.com/online-marketing/falling-amongst-the-stars-tips-for-improving-your-yelp-ratings/
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224673
http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/114853-How-to-Use-Yelp-for-Local-Marketing/

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