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5 Yelp Facts Business Owners Should Know

5 Yelp Facts Business Owners Should Know

Yelp isn’t just a review site — it’s the review site of our social media age. Sure, you can leave a review of a business in a lot of places, such as Facebook and Google, but Yelp is really where most people head when they’re looking for honest opinions of a restaurant, a shop, or some other local business.

There’s no doubt that Yelp is a great tool for consumers, but what about for businesses? The truth is, all businesses need to learn how to navigate Yelp and make it work for them rather than against them. If you’re a small business owner, here are five things you probably don’t know about Yelp but most certainly should:

  • Make sure you claim your listing. If you run a shop, or a restaurant, or any other type of business, and if you’ve been around for at least six months, chances are good that there’s already a Yelp page for your business. As the business owner, you’ll need to actually claim that page and then improve upon it. You can update your company information, indicate hours, add photos, and more. Plus, your Yelp page can also be optimized with keywords so it will turn up high in search rankings.

  • There are several ways to handle a bad review. If a negative review is an honest one, you as the business owner can reply to it, either publicly or privately. Whichever one you choose, however, it’s crucial to keep your response calm and thoughtful, as name calling and other bombastic behavior tends to just draw a lot more negative attention. However, if a negative review is truly unfair — if it was left by a disgruntled former employee, for example, or contains false information or hate speech — you can flag it, which can possibly lead to the review being taken down.

  • You’re allowed to ask for reviews — sort of. Yelp doesn’t exactly encourage this practice, and you’re absolutely forbidden from paying or otherwise compensating customers in exchange for a positive review, but you can ask satisfied customers to note their positive experience on Yelp. (In other words, it’s not a violation of their terms of service.) Rather than flat out asking for reviews, though, Yelp simply suggests pointing customers toward your business’s Yelp page with a Yelp badge on your website or a “Find us on Yelp” sign in your physical location where customers will see it. Yelp contends that overtly asking for reviews will lead to customers not really trusting the reviews they do read about your business.

  • Yelp can help you improve your business if you use it right. A lot of business owners are active on Yelp only insofar as their business is concerned. However, if you’re a business owner, you’re surely a customer at other shops, restaurants, and places with a Yelp page. Consider creating a personal Yelp profile and leaving reviews of those places — and then take some time to read what others have written. Doing so will give you a heightened awareness of what makes those businesses work, and that’s information that you can apply to your own business to make it better.

  • There are lots of small business tools for you. Yelp actually has an entire section for business owners, and if you use it right, it can really help your business succeed. For example, restaurants can set up online ordering through with Yelp Eat24; Yelp takes a small commission and a credit card fee, and everything else, including tax and tips, is yours. You can also advertise on Yelp via sponsored ads, which puts your business’s Yelp page in a highly prominent spot. And finally, there are several free tools for businesses, including the extremely useful business analytics, which allows you to track leads and customer engagement. Spend some time looking through the Yelp for Business menu to make the most of your Yelp presence.

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