by Lily Bradic
We’ve already established the importance of word of mouth when it comes to attracting business, and over the past few weeks we’ve covered Google+ local business reviews and the importance of a Foursquare presence. This week, we’ll be looking at Yelp, and why it’s essential for any local business to be active there.
For many people, Yelp is the first port of call when looking to visit an establishment for the first time. This is particularly true of places where customer experience is important: think restaurants, beauty salons, gyms and hotels.
But that doesn’t mean you can afford to forget about Yelp if you own a hardware store or the like. If nothing else, Yelp can show potential customers that you exist, tell them where you’re located, and let them know when you’re open.
And the benefits don’t stop there. Just like with Foursquare, the social aspect of Yelp is incredibly important for spreading word of mouth. People tend to trust their friends’ opinions most of all. Yelp tells you which of your Facebook friends are using the site and shows you their reviews…before you’ve even created an account there yourself. Yes, it is a bit creepy.
We’ll let them off, though, because creepy has its benefits. It means that even the lurkers get a personalised experience on Yelp — and even if they’re not leaving reviews themselves, they can still check out the ones their friends have left.
We don’t need to stress the importance of good reviews. You know the score. But you mustn’t let bad ones put you off — they’re part of life. And guess what? People can leave reviews for your business even if you’re not on Yelp, so you can’t protecting yourself by staying away (there really is no escape)! Besides, bad reviews can be turned into positives if you know how to deal with them.
Yelp is free, and your business could already be listed, reviewed, and just waiting for you to claim it. You have everything to gain.