Yelp is “focused on the reviewing experience” and started off by fostering a community of highly engaged users who write reviews about restaurants, dentists, and other types of local establishments. They tap into the “vocal minority” to provide content for the rest of us.
Business owners can benefit from these reviews – if they gain a number of good reviews on Yelp many times their Yelp profile can rank highly in the Google search results. restaurants, hotels and retail stores, for example, tend to get a lot of Yelp reviews.
For example, one of my favorite little cafes, Rose Donuts is one of those places with a lot of charm, great deals and super friendly staff. If you look at their Yelp profile they have over 100 reviews with an average rating of 4.5/5.
But What About Negative Reviews?
But for some businesses who don’t get a lot of reviews on Yelp, a negative review can really stand out and impact their business. In other cases, good reviews from their customers have disappeared from their Yelp profiles without explanation.
This has left many business owners I’ve talked to feel powerless because they feel their business has been mis-represented and there is nothing they can do about it.
It turns out that Yelp has some mechanisms for small business owners to “engage in the conversation” with the Yelp community.
Yelp Business Outreach
Recently I had a chance to talk with Luther Lowe, Business Outreach Manager at Yelp. Luther contacted me via Twitter after reading an article I wrote on LocalSearchNews.net about the problems some frustrated businesses were experiencing. (See The Trouble with Yelp.)
During our conversation he told me a lot of interesting things that would be super valuable for small business owners, giving them a way to address many of their concerns if they only knew about them and how to use them.
So I asked Luther to do an audio interview for the Expand2Web Podcast Series. He agreed, and in the interview he provided some great insights and tips for small business owners.
Luther joined Yelp in February 2008 as an Account Executive and currently serves as the Business Outreach Manager. In this role, he works to educate the business community about best practices for engaging with the Yelp community.
Tips for Small Business Owners
In the interview Luther shares some valuable tips for small business owners, such as:
- The importance of claiming your free Yelp profile (and how to claim it)
- How to handle negative reviews
- How to send private and public messages to your Yelp reviewers
- How to engage in the conversation going on about your business at Yelp
Business owners can claim their Yelp profile on the Yelp for Business Owners page.
Listen to the Complete Interview
You can listen to an audio interview here:
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