We make no apologies for highlighting Yelp yet again - it poses a significant challenge to businesses in the UK now, and it is important for us to tell our clients about strategies for managing that challenge.
We have closely monitored the progress of Yelp in the US since it was a San Francisco fledgling. It now dominates the world of business reviews in the US.
Please read this post from business2community then read on...
Important points raised:
- 'Not just for restaurants' : it's a popular misconception that 'all Yelp reviews are of bars, restaurants and clubs'. The demographic of active Yelpers (18-30) means that there are plenty of those - but over 35% of all Yelp reviews are of other types of business, from employment agencies to accountants, from estate agents to doctors
- Yelp continues to do deals with the likes of Apple (Suri search on iPhones points to Yelp reviews) and Bing (Yelp results in search)
Claim your listing on Yelp (if you haven't already done so). But prepare yourself for a sales assault by Yelp's salespeople - we're not here to tell you whether or not Yelp's proposition in the UK will add value because Yelp is so much smaller in the UK (for now) than the US, and so there's simply too little evidence - a good strategy will be to keep and eye on businesses in your sector and then get feedback once someone else has taken the plunge.
Yelp and Dialogue
Now - it's more important than ever to make sure Dialogue works effectively for you. Invitation emails must be sent in a timely fashion (hotel clients might even consider sending their email before their guest checks out - estate agents and other 'service' clients must not cherry-pick* who they send the email to).
If you don't follow this advice you will almost certainly find, sooner or later, you end up with a review on Yelp that you would rather had not been posted.
Here are the answers to some of the questions we are routinely asked about Yelp:
- Can I get a review taken down? Here's Yelp's own answer: 'Colorful language and imagery is fine, but there's no need for threats, harassment, lewdness, hate speech, and other displays of bigotry' Which in practice means 'No' unless it's breaking the law.
- Can I respond to a review? Only if your business has claimed its listing
- Customers say they have posted positive reviews and they aren't showing. Why not? Yelp has a 'filter'. The way it operates is one of the mysteries of the 21st century - for comments from business owners read this
*cherry-picking': the practice of only sending email invitations to 'happy' customers; risks the very real threat that the 'unhappy' customer will post negative comment elsewhere on the web