93 percent of purchase decisions are influenced by social media and review sites so it’s more important than ever before for businesses to monitor their online reviews. Yelp is one of the best-known ratings and review sites but many businesses have a love/hate relationship with it. Do you need some help with Yelp?
Why Should You Care About Yelp?
Back in 2015, Yelp reported an astonishing 83 million users active across many different business categories – including retail, restaurants, automotive, travel and hotels. Yelp is a partner with Apple which means when someone is searching for your business the Map feature will include Yelp user ratings and businesses with better reviews rank better in local search results. Digital Air Strike conducted its Annual Automotive Social Media Trends Study and found that 50 percent of car buyers and 59 percent of service customers said social and online review sites are the most helpful in the dealership selection process.
Yelp Enhanced Features and Benefits
Yelp offers businesses non-enhanced or enhanced page options. Non-enhanced is free, but that does not mean it’s without cost.
If you choose to use a non-enhanced page, you’ll experience the following:
- You’ll be limited to one photo in a single size that creates a visually unappealing profile compared to competitors with enhanced pages.
- Other businesses competing for the same consumers can have their advertisements appear on your page!
Enhanced pages give you an edge with exclusive features like:
- Unlimited photos and videos that can be easily viewed through a reel feature.
- Competitor ads are blocked and replaced with an expanded custom content feature, allowing your business to further appeal to potential customers.
- There is an option for a call-to-action section which will direct customers to your website.
Yelp reports that profiles with a call to action button average a 50 percent increase in traffic and customer leads vs. free profiles. Wow! One more thing to consider: when you work with a company that partners with Yelp you may be able to get better rates on Enhanced Profiles than if you work with Yelp directly!
Best Practices to Increase Engagement Opportunities and Reviews
Increasing consumer engagement is critical to becoming a 5-star business on Yelp. Here are a few ways you can start increasing engagement today:
- Start with simple in-store advertisements such as custom counter cards, window stickers, and personalized business cards that inform customers that your business is active on Yelp.
- Offer customer specials, also called “check-in” offers, to encourage a customer to further investigate your business. Some examples of “check-in” offers include offering discounts, freebies, or other special amenities to people who “check-in” at your business. Customers can also filter searches in Yelp to show only businesses with special offers. “Check-in” offers allow an easy avenue for customers to leave reviews. If they choose not to write a review right away, Yelp will remind them the next time they sign-in.
- Responding to reviews can also be a great way to show potential customers that you’re engaged in conversations and care what people are saying about your services or products. In fact, Digital Air Strike conducted a survey on millennial consumers and found the 62 percent of consumers appreciate social site interaction and say if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. Making your responses as personalized as possible will make the reviewer and others see that their feedback is valuable.
Yelp’s Filtering Mechanism – Not Recommended Reviews
Yelp’s filtering mechanism uses many signals to weed out reviews left by customers of a business. These include quality, reliability, the level of a user’s activity on Yelp, and unhelpful ranting. Therefore, only Yelp’s recommended reviews are factored into their overall star rating. The bottom line here is, Yelp’s filtering mechanism looks for credibility. About 75 percent of reviews submitted to Yelp are labeled as recommended.
You may also submit an inquiry to Yelp about questionable reviews. By reporting a defamatory or questionable review and including any information that Yelp’s moderators can independently verify, the review can be investigated by Yelp’s automated software.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Yelp isn’t going away, so it’s best to use the tips presented here to leverage the site and engage with consumers who rely on it to make decisions about where to spend their money.
Alexi Venneri is the co-founder and CEO of Digital Air Strike, the leading social media technology and consumer engagement company. Alexi has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and is a pioneer in digital response, social marketing and online reputation management.