Yelp For Business, Review, Planning to start a smal business

 Yelp For Business - Planning to start a business

You're probably familiar with Yelp by now if you own a small business. The user-generated recommendation site has become the first step for potential customers looking for trusted information about a new retail store, restaurant, or service, with over 115 million total reviews and 145 million monthly users. It's also the first step for angry or dissatisfied customers who want to vent about a recent negative experience with a company. Yelp has also faced criticism for aggressive advertising sales practices, which were dismissed in class action lawsuits in 2011.

For these reasons, many small business owners are dissatisfied with Yelp, but the site is far too important to ignore. In a 2016 paper, Harvard University Professor Michael Luca demonstrated that a one-star increase in Yelp rating resulted in a 5-9% increase in revenue for independent restaurants in Washington State, and we're all familiar with the search for a new place to eat or shop that begins in the Yelp app.
Yelp For Business, Review, Planning to start a smal business
Yelp For Business, Review, Planning to start a smal business
It's a common misconception that Yelp is only for restaurants, despite the fact that they are the second most reviewed business category (18%), trailing only shopping (22%) and surpassing home and local services (13%). Making Yelp work for you is critical for any small business. A successful Yelp strategy does not require any financial investment and provides an opportunity for your interactions with your customers to positively represent your business.

Yelp for business owners

WHAT EXACTLY IS YELP?

Yelp's millions of reviews, according to their website, are written by ordinary consumers about genuine experiences they've had at local businesses.

However, thousands of local business owners have described Yelp as acting more like a digital gangster than a non-biased review platform. Yelp demands "protection money" in the form of exorbitant advertising fees in exchange for "assistance" in improving rankings and hiding negative customer reviews. There is a dearth of Yelp business owner complaints about their shady and unethical business practices.

Yelp, as a publicly traded company, derives the majority of its revenue from self-hosted advertising, such as being featured on the main page and being listed on a competitor's Yelp business page. According to Yelp, 74% of customers in the United States use Yelp to find a local business, making it critical for most brick-and-mortar establishments to maintain a positive rating on this review platform.

HOW DOES YELP WORK?

Yelp's directory includes every local business that it can find, including those that were not created by the business owner. Yelp allows business owners to "claim" a business page, but they cannot delete their listing or request that their business page be removed. Because of Yelp's dominance in the online review space, many local businesses, whether they want to or not, must learn to skillfully manage their Yelp page.

If a local business already has a positive Yelp rating as a result of customers who are genuinely pleased with the service and/or products provided by that business, there appears to be little incentive to pay Yelp for additional website promotion. Despite this, Yelp's sales team believes that these are their best prospects for closing a sale.

SCARE TACTICS OR YELP BUSINESS PRACTICES?

Yelp's sales team is well-known for their tenacity. They frequently make repeated phone calls to a business over a period of weeks or even months in an attempt to close an advertising deal. However, some business owners claim that if they do not purchase Yelp advertising, their previously positive rating will suddenly drop. Many positive reviews will be hidden, with a flood of negative reviews replacing them.

However, Yelp claims that the authenticity of customer reviews is determined by a sophisticated computer algorithm. The company emphatically denies any involvement in changing a business's rating, even if the business is not one of their advertising clients.

It's impossible to know whether Yelp has ever manipulated comments or ratings on a business's Yelp page without access to Yelp's inner workings. However, it is not difficult to find angry business owners who claim that Yelp discriminates against businesses that do not require or wish to purchase advertising on Yelp's website.

HAS YOUR COMPANY EVER BEEN YELPED INACCURATELY?

The majority of Yelp complaints are related to the company's firm commitment to never removing a negative review from their site, even if it was allegedly posted from a fake account, a disgruntled former employee, or even a competitor's employee. Unlike Google, Yelp's online review competitor, Yelp has no formal process to remove allegedly fraudulent or inauthentic reviews, and Yelp's company policy is to maintain strict neutrality at all times.

According to Yelp's FAQ, a business owner's only option in response to a negative review is to "wait a minute, but not too long." Yelp rarely deletes allegedly fraudulent content because it rarely "takes sides." And Yelp strongly advises against hiring a lawyer to sue them over an unfavorable review, stating that "lawsuits are extraordinarily expensive," and that if you lose the case, "you'll have to pay Yelp's legal bills." These are common Yelp business practices that put local business owners up against a brick wall.

WHAT EXACTLY IS A "PROFESSIONAL YELPER?"

Business owners must be aware of more than just negative customer feedback. Not all Yelp customer reviews are given the same weight, as parodied in the season 19 episode "You're Not Yelping." The "Elite Squad" is a group of Yelp reviewers. The Elite Squad, according to Yelp's website, are not Yelp employees, but rather trusted "civilian" reviewers who receive special badges on their accounts and access to exclusive events such as "cocktails on boats" (an actual quote from Yelp's website) paid for by local businesses wishing to encourage positive reviews from the most influential commenters on Yelp's website.

DO YOU BUY FAKE YELP REVIEWS?

Can a person or company buy fake Yelp reviews? As unethical as it may appear, there is a market for it, and one can easily find people to leave fake Yelp reviews for their own or a competitor's business. How can any business expect to get a fair shake with their Yelp listing when this type of "service" is available for online review platforms?

THINK ABOUT YOUR SOURCE

Because Yelp has a "hands off" policy when it comes to authenticating customer reviews, business owners using Yelp to research competitors or potential partners must scrutinize every Yelp business page. An overly positive rating could be the result of wooing an Elite Squad member or purchasing Yelp advertising. Similarly, a negative review or ranking could have come from a disgruntled former employee or someone else with a grudge. This is obviously very frustrating for business owners and is the root cause of the numerous Yelp complaints that are making the rounds on the internet.

The best strategy is to take Yelp's rankings and reviews with a grain of salt. It's also critical to consider rankings and feedback from other review sites, such as Google.

Despite the fact that numerous business owners have filed complaints against Yelp with state Better Business Bureaus as well as the Federal Trade Commission, Yelp has maintained their policy of non-intervention in removing negative reviews. And, given the California Supreme Court's 2018 ruling in Hassel v. Bird, which stated that businesses cannot force Yelp to remove even defamatory reviews, it's unlikely that Yelp's policies will change anytime soon. As a result, business owners are forced to figure out how to manage their Yelp ranking, and consumers must always consider their source when using it.

Using Yelp for Small Business to Put Your Best Foot Forward

If you haven't already done so, the first step for a small business on Yelp is to claim your business page. After you claim your page, you will be able to upload photos, add external links to your website and social media profiles, and add important information such as your phone number, menu, hours, and specials. Most importantly, claiming your page and creating an account with Yelp allows you to respond to customers who have left reviews about your business both privately and publicly.

Take the time to create a comprehensive business page, including any information that potential customers might find useful. Photos are essential-beautiful visuals are a quick and easy way to make a good first impression. When writing the 'about' section for your company, consider what relevant keywords customers might be searching for that could lead them to your page.

Users frequently search on Yelp-consider cravings like "late-night breakfast"-and information on your page appears in Google search results; therefore, well-written copy can help more people discover you. It's a good idea to look at the pages of local businesses-including your competitors-that you're familiar with offline as you create your business page to see how they represent themselves online. If you've already claimed your business page, make it a point to update (if necessary) any information you've posted every few months.

Best Practices for Responding to Reviews on Yelp for Small Businesses

You might be itching to respond to that one-star reviewer who, for lack of a better word, is an idiot. You might be itching to reward the author of an essay-length, glowing review. In either case, it's critical to put your emotions aside when responding to Yelp reviews and write with empathy for both past and future customers.

You can respond to reviews publicly or privately on Yelp, and you should take advantage of this feature when engaging with all types of customers. Whatever the nature of their review, a thoughtful response from you will make them feel heard and appreciated.

Positive Yelp Reviews for Small Businesses

A simple "thank you" sent privately is a good approach for positive reviews. You don't need to publicly thank every positive review unless they have gone above and beyond, but it is important to make these customers feel good about taking the time to review your business. Don't feel obligated to give them gifts or anything else-it may come across as spammy or insincere.

Negative Reviews on Yelp for Small Businesses

Negative feedback necessitates more consideration. First and foremost, take a deep breath. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your reviewer (this will be difficult at times). Consider their feedback; it generally falls into one of three categories:
  • They did not like your tomato soup.
  • Constructive feedback-they like your product but think your music is too loud.
  • Whether it's attacks or trolling, your restaurant is the worst place on the planet.
Your response should be tailored to the type of review. If they have a valid complaint, tell them how you intend to address it. If you disagree, explain why-but remember, you're not trying to persuade them. You're demonstrating to them-and potential customers-that you value what they have to say. 

This is especially important when dealing with dissatisfied customers who offer suggestions for improvement. Here's an example of a restaurant owner who responded admirably to a customer complaint:

Customers who are venting and outraged deserve nothing more than an apology; you should not engage with them further (no matter how badly you want to do so). And you should never respond in the manner depicted below:

You can report their review to Yelp if it is completely inaccurate (it is about someone else's experience, a different business, or appears to be written by a disgruntled ex-employee).

You must maintain a positive attitude regardless of the tone of the customer! Demonstrate that you value their business, that you value their time, that their experience is important-and that you are listening to them. Remember that not only will you be judged by their review, but also by the character and quality of your response. This is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate how your company approaches customer service.

It is up to you to determine a cadence for responding to reviews. Checking Yelp every day may not be good for your mental health or worth your time (depending on the size of your business). We recommend reading and responding to reviews in bulk once a week so that you can respond to feedback quickly.

Yelp for Small Businesses: How It Works

You may be wondering why some reviews aren't showing up or counting toward your star total on your Yelp page. Reviews can get stuck at the bottom in the "not recommended" section, where they aren't counted. 

If Yelp's algorithm determines that the reviewer lacks sufficient experience, the review is routed there. Reviewers who are more active on the platform (have more posts, friends) are less likely to be caught in that section.

If you have a large number of 5 or 4 star reviews from new Yelp reviewers, you can contact them to thank them for their business and explain that if they review a few more businesses or add friends, their review will appear on your page.

Increasing the Number of Reviews

You're probably wondering if there are any tricks to getting more positive feedback. The answer is no—positive reviews should come as a natural result of how you interact with your customers.

We advise against soliciting reviews, and Yelp expressly prohibits offering anything in exchange for a review. They should feel natural, and you should never come across as pushy to your customers. Make it simple for satisfied customers to find your Yelp page and leave a review. 

Yelp provides badges for your website and window decals, and you should include links to Yelp in your social media profiles and customer communications.

Yelp advertising

We believe you can get a lot out of the Yelp platform by focusing solely on the free page features available. Advertising in competitive areas may be worthwhile to test to see if it can help drive traffic. If you do work with Yelp, don't spend more than necessary to test the channel-and relationship; then, take your time evaluating-don't let them press you. If you contact a member of their sales team, they can be a valuable resource in resolving any issues you may be experiencing (incorrect address, etc.)-they want to earn your business. Have fun Yelping!

Yelp for business phone number : (877) 767-9357


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