There are a growing myriad of consumer review websites for small business owners to create accounts for their brands on. However, one stands above the rest as the ultimate weapon for small business owners – Yelp. Yelp.com allows users to search for local businesses and leave reviews of their experiences with its products and services. The site is an important tool for small business to build a brand and grow a community.
Yelp is arguably the most well-known and well-frequented consumer review site, boasting over 22 million total reviews. In 2011, it attracted more than 65 million unique visitors each month. Many small businesses are willing to pay extravagantly for this exposure and customer feedback, but with Yelp, it’s all free. Setting up your company page on Yelp.com costs nothing more than answering a simple phone call to verify your affiliation with the business. Yelp also has its own mobile app, making it easier for users to find your business when they’re on the go and in need of your services most.
Creating a Conversation
The main draw of Yelp for users is the ability to leave reviews, good or bad, on businesses and stores they have visited. As a business owner, you have the ability to create a dialogue with your customers to build brand loyalty and integrity. You can respond directly to negative reviews and learn new ways to improve your business. Positive reviews give you a chance to thank happy customers and invite them back to your store again.
Managing your Image
Even if you don’t create a Yelp page for your small business, chances are that someone else eventually will. They won’t have the ability to post special offers, respond to reviews or add certain information about your business, but they will be able to enter company information and leave reviews. If you don’t take control of your Yelp page, users may upload incorrect information, create page spam or negatively affect your company’s reputation. Yelp is incredibly user-friendly, making managing your brand’s image extremely easy.
Social media requires constant thought—keeping information up-to-date, making sure customers are satisfied with your products and services, and trial and error. Keeping your brand’s Yelp page current and monitoring reviews may take up time, but the benefits to your small business will outweigh the time you put into it exponentially.