Are you wondering how to best use Yelp for your business?
If you run a local business like a restaurant, Yelp should be an essential cornerstone of your online presence.
Launched back in 2004, Yelp continues to be the go-to resource for millions of visitors looking for information about local businesses.
1. Read the profiles of your competitors
Before you start fiddling with your own Yelp profile, we highly recommend you first get a lay of the land.
Search Yelp for your direct local competitors and click through to their profiles. Take a close look at those with 4+ star ratings and those with 3 and below.
Try to distinguish the differences between those who are thriving on Yelp and those who are not.
Do their photos set them apart?
Does their website link lead to an impressive site or one that turns traffic away?
Can you start to see patterns in the types of things mentioned in their reviews?
Try to pin down what your local market values highly and what prompts them to leave a poor review.
Learn from all of your snooping around and leverage your competitive research to ensure your own success on Yelp.
2. Create a strong photo gallery
Most businesses on Yelp only have a couple of poorly shot photos, usually uploaded by visitors. Some businesses don’t even have one photo posted. This is a huge opportunity for your business to stand out!
Hire a professional photographer to shoot a handful of engaging photos that inform visitors about what they’re in for when they visit you. Show off your décor, your food (or products) and the overall customer experience.
Important tip: Include a photo or two of the front of your business, or what your customers will see as they drive by and approach. This makes it tremendously easier for new customers to find you and walk in.
3. Respond to reviews
We’re surprised more people don’t take advantage of this incredibly valuable tool Yelp has provided business owners. You, as the business owner, can publicly respond to any review placed on your business profile.
Now, before you start firing away at every bad review that comes your way, stop and consider a more strategic approach.
If you choose to respond to a comment, do it calmly and respectfully. The key here is to show that you care. Thank the reviewer for their feedback, and point out things they may not have been aware of, or explain how you plan to fix or improve whatever it is they were complaining about.
Respond to positive reviews as well! Thank them for coming in and for their kind words. Use this as an opportunity to highlight the hard work you’re putting toward a great customer experience.
The bottom line is, your visibility as the owner within the Reviews section will do a lot to set you apart from your competition—mainly because nobody else is doing it!
4. Link It All
Make it easy for customers to find you anywhere online. First, fill out your website and social media links on your Yelp business page. This way, interested folks can easily click through from Yelp to your website or Facebook page to read your blog or ask questions.
Next, add a Yelp badge to your website; periodically, share your Yelp page on your social media platforms. Don’t ask for reviews, which is something Yelp frowns upon; instead, just invite followers to check out your Yelp profile.
5. Use Yelp Deals
Take advantage of Yelp Deals by creating a special offer that’s featured on your Yelp business page. There’s no
upfront cost to you, though Yelp retains a percentage of every deal claimed. You can also make gift certificates available through Yelp, as well as creating Check-In Offers for mobile users who check in to your location on the Yelp app.
More and more shoppers look to online reviews as they research businesses and make purchase decisions. Take control of your reputation and direct positive attention to your business by meeting your customers where they gather to share their opinions.