Yelp’s purpose is “to connect people with great local businesses.” It was founded in 2004 and as of August 2010, had over 12 million reviews on their site. Around 38 million people visit Yelp in any given 30 days.
Yelp is basically a business review site, a search engine for local businesses and a social network combined into one. Yelp users can rate, provide pictures, write reviews and update information on local businesses.
So that’s the user side of it, what about the business? How would a business profit from using Yelp?
The answer is simple: find out what people think about you. Whether your business is a coffee shop, a hair salon, a fine dining establishment or a dog groomers, Yelp allows users to rate your business and write reviews about what they thought about their experience.
But what can you do to promote your business through Yelp?
Another thing that people do on Yelp is search for services they require, based on customer reviews. They might see your company on Yelp, but they won’t necessarily want to go there unless they see good ratings and reviews.
We suggest getting reviews in the easiest way possible: asking for them. Now, we certainly don’t mean bribing (“Give us a good review on Yelp and we’ll give you a free coffee next time you stop in!”), but rather by shooting out an email to past customers, asking them to tell you what they think… on Yelp.
Every time you go to write a review on Yelp, they’ll tell you the same thing: “Please don’t review this business if you received a freebie for writing this review, or if you’re connected in any way to the owner or employees.” And they mean it. Their tagline says it all: “Real people. Real reviews.”
Don’t give (or give bribes for) fake reviews, no matter how much you need them! A past customer is fine to ask reviews from, but don’t ask your family or employees to review your business.
Here’s what you need to do to get started on Yelp:
- If you don’t have an account, start one. Review other businesses, establish a following, find people you know and befriend people like you.
- Claim your business. Head over to https://biz.yelp.com/signup/ and see if your business is already on Yelp. If it is, great! If it isn’t, you’ve got a clean slate to start with.
- Get all the information you can onto Yelp. Don’t be too wordy, but make sure you include all that your business encompasses.
- Shoot out that email! Tell your past customers that you’re now on Yelp and that you’d love to hear what they thought of you!
So that’s Yelp in summary, but the site certainly has a lot more to it than what we’ve mentioned here, so we suggest taking some time to get to know the site and what it’s all about!