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Optimize Your Reviews Without Reviewing

If you’re a business owner, you should be on top of your brand marketing. Most of your brand marketing will be done on the Internet. Whether your business is a restaurant, car service center or a gym, your Internet presence is good indicator of your brand awareness. With that said, there is one site that finds its way to the first page of Google that may mention if not feature your business.

The site is Yelp, the number one review site on the Internet. There have been many different review sites like Citysearch or Google Reviews but Yelp has came out the winner at the end. Yelp allows users or “yelpers” to log into the site and start writing reviews. Good or bad, scathing or praising -- it matters not as yelpers are not the most professional writers. They are -- as the site says -- “real people” making “real reviews”.

Sooner or later, your business will find it’s way to be listed on Yelp. This normally happens organically along with the subsequent reviews. If you want to boost your business’s reputation up, you can write reviews for it. But those usually get detected as non-authentic reviews. Several business have caught themselves in trouble by trying to hire Elite (recognized) yelpers to write reviews. It is a company policy that reviews come organically without any agenda or compensation given.

There is a way that you can be a voice for your company on Yelp. Business accounts are available on Yelp for business owners to respond to reviews, advertise on Yelp and create Yelp Deals & Gift Certificates. Not only does it become a way to defend your company’s reputation and further your brand, but it is also a great advertising platform.

Responding to reviews is your right as a business owner. It is your chance to stand up to frivolous accusations and less-than-accurate reviews. It’s also a way to explain your business methods or model to your customers. But most of all, it can create a discourse or a relationship with the reviewer/Yelper/customer. You can message them and politely ask them to come back or offer discount or ask for another review.

Advertisements can be made on Yelp with a business account. This could be done on newsletters, message boards or just placement on the home page. The ad model resembles Google with no bidding. Just open a business account and you will most likely have placement with links to your reviews or website on emails or the website. With millions of visitors coming to Yelp on desktop and especially on mobile, it’s a good deal.

There’s more to the business account: You can be part of their Yelp Deals. Coinciding with their advertising efforts for your business --  if you provide discounts and offers for their customers, they will brand you as a “Yelp Deal”. Working in the same way as Groupon or LivingSocial, being a business owner under this “deal” means another platform to be promoted on. This time, under the guise of being a deal.

It can’t hurt to make a bigger presence on Yelp. You will definitely get a more defined and enthusiastic demographic to work with rather than the wide, vague umbrella that search ads can produce. Other than that, a business account provides intimacy with your customers as well as a voice when issues arise.

Image credit: Beth Kanter on Flickr



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