Privy Weekly Blog Roundup for Marketers (5.24.2013)

We're back again to bring you a roundup of what's happening in the local/marketing/restaurant blogosphere! This week, Yelp is vocally fighting back against claims of extortion, GrubHub and Seamless are joining forces, and Mashable brings us 2 insightful articles about branding (and of course, social media).

First up, Yelp. A few weeks ago, we posted about Yelp facing some serious allegations, namely that it extorts its customers into buying (rather expensive) ad space by selectively filtering reviews, which stands to hurt or help a business, depending on the nature of the reviews. Well, it seems Yelp has had enough, and has come out on their blog to contradict the claims that have been made for some time, calling it a 'conspiracy' that they intend to debunk. Without any courts ruling against them, and a simplified explanation of the algorithms determining which reviews are filtered, their debunking post is fairly compelling.

Yelp has responded to critics who accuse the review site of extorting customers for ad revenue

Yelp has responded to critics who accuse the review site of extorting customers for ad revenue

While we're on the subject of Yelp, David Chevalier at SalesBlend has some interesting thoughts on how SMB's can best make use of Yelp to drive revenue. This article is particularly powerful because it takes a realistic, seemingly unbiased approach to explaining that Yelp's algorithm isn't perfect, and there are certainly examples of that imperfection in practice, but SMB's can impact the reviews that end up on their Yelp profiles. He goes on to say that the best approach is to "aggressively manage" your Yelp presence. For example, when a negative review is left on your Yelp page, take Inc.com's advice to "craft authentic, appropriate, and respectful responses."

GrubHub & Seamless are merging, but will remain separate apps, for now

GrubHub & Seamless are merging, but will remain separate apps, for now

GrubHub and Seamless, arguably the two biggest players in the online-food-ordering industry, have announced this week that they'll be merging, but they'll remain separate apps, for now.  Businessweek has a solid roundup of what this means for them, and the other players in the space, including Yelp and OpenTable, whose functions are not directly competing with the merged order-takers, but whose businesses stand to take a hit, as they dominate the most important part of the food-service customer interaction: the purchase itself. Yelp handles reviews and recommendations, OpenTable makes reservations for in-store dining, but GrubHub and Seamless will know what you eat, how often you get food from particular establishments, and as the article says, "the best review is the purchase."

Mashable is one of my personal favorite blog networks, obsessively covering everything related to social media. As a marketer, I've found it extremely useful for distilling the events of the social web into easily-digestible nuggets of insight. First up from Mashable, 9 Social Marketing Metrics That Actually Matter. The list includes "Facebook Engagement Ratio," or the number of people talking about a brand divided by the number who like it, as well as Conversion: the number of people who actually become customers. We're especially keen on Conversion as a vital metric, because that's what Privy does best: convert fans and followers into customers, and track it. And after all, what's the point of maintaining a social presence if it's not driving revenue?

Another thing we harp on here at Privy is finding and projecting your brand's voice. Nobody wants to interact with apathetic robots or corporate marketing machinery, so finding your brand's voice is crucial to maintaining a conversation with your audience and engaging them. Mashable publisher The Daily Muse has put together a list of pointers on how to identify and establish your brand's voice. Their advice includes building archetypes of your audience, identifying how you want them to feel after their interaction (examples: special, informed, or maybe loved?) and then testing your voice on your already-captive audience of archetypes (friends and family, or regular users of your brand). This is good advice for anybody trying to build a social presence, and audience, and engagement.

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