This morning we were tipped off that a local business owner was actually offering to pay yelp users for positive reviews. Turns out he got caught in the act, and punished, so don't try it for yourselves :)
But it brings up a valid point. As a local business owner, do you advertise on Yelp? What's your approach to Yelp reviews and ratings? We'd love to hear from you in the comments, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Without naming names, we've spoken with at least 10-20 businesses and marketers that have had true horror stories when it comes to yelp.
In one instance, a salon that had tons of positive reviews was solicited by a yelp sales person to see if the salon would advertise on yelp. After politely declining the advertising opportunity, that salon noticed that their Yelp page started showing their few negative reviews on the front page, and apparently the positive reviews were shoved way down. When they called Yelp to see what was happening, they were told that they could advertise on Yelp's platform, which would help their page, and show the positive reviews. They're not alone.
So, what can you do as a business owner?
For starters, Yelp is a powerful avenue of customer discovery. So it's important to follow these guidelines:
- Claim your business page on yelp. It's easy and super important for SEO and improving your searchability.
- Make sure your contact information, hours of operation and category are all accurate, and listed.
- Respond to every review - positive and negative. Even a simple "Thanks!" for a positive review helps. For negative reviews, be genuine, and don't freak out. Maybe try "Hi, I'm Joe, the manager of X. I'm sorry to hear about this experience. I'd love for you to come back and ask for me when you get here"
- Lastly, ask your in-store customers to review you. It's amazing what you can accomplish by having a small sign next to your registers, and even asking happy customers to review your business. It makes a world of difference.
And if all else fails, there's a site built just for you: http://yelp-sucks.com/