Social media’s widespread usage and popularity, the influence of online communities on people’s purchasing decisions is more pronounced than ever. Like never before, when people are in the research phase of the buying cycle, they have access to a wider audience of current, past, or prospective customers worldwide that they can consult before making their decision.
One of the primary sources of product research is the review website, whose overall goal is to help consumers make informed decisions about buying a product or service. There are two broad categories of review sites: those run by single individuals or groups of editors and those run by communities where members perform peer reviews. On peer-driven review websites like Yelp, Epinions, or Amazon, anyone can post his or her feelings about a product or service for all future buyers to see. As a business marketing yourself on these channels, it’s essential for your brand reach to be featured
on online review websites. While your product or service should inherently be good enough so that you believe in it, there are several strategies for engaging with your customer on these forums. If you do it right, review websites can be an
excellent tool for converting a prospective buyer into an actual customer. There are industry specific review websites, such as tech review sites and travel websites. Having your product reviewed and spoken about on these niche review
websites is a good way of exposing your brand to a more targeted audience that is specifically looking for your product.
Businesses with a physical presence can list their details on the Yelp site for their city—for example a restaurant, clothing store, movie theater, or dry cleaner. Once the business’s details have been added to the site, Yelp users can write reviews on the service and give a rating of between one and five stars. Due to its large user base and geographic reach, Yelp is a powerful channel of word of mouth within the community, which means that it can have a powerful effect on your brand’s reputation. A positive review, for example, can result in a significant increase in customers. Yelp also attracts external traffic from search engines, and so listing your website as part of your Yelp business profile can be another channel by which to drive traffic to your site. On the other hand, negative reviews can have an equally strong impact on your business, and so it’s important to have a strategy to deal with bad reviews too.
Yelp: Yelp are based on a strong social networking platform. Via internal e-mail, members can connect with each other to share photos, compare reviews, blog posts, and more. This social networking aspect is fully integrated into reviews on the site: when you read a review, you can click on the reviewer’s profile to read all the reviews he or she has created and to add the reviewer as a friend on a site.
Yelp are based on a strong social networking platform. Via internal e-mail, members can connect with each other to share photos, compare reviews, blog posts, and more. This social networking aspect is fully integrated into reviews on the site: when you read a review, you can click on the reviewer’s profile to read all the reviews he or she has created and to add the reviewer as a friend on a site.
Claim Your Profile:The first step in establishing your business’s presence on Yelp is to claim your profile. Enter details about your business, including your business’s name, physical address, Web address, and hours. Also select a category for your business, which will affect how visible you are in search results for users looking for a business in your industry, as well as how visible you are when they browse by category. You will need to confirm that you’re the business owner. Yelp verifies that you’re the owner of the business through phone verification. When you add a new listing and add your
associated phone number, the system will call that number and provide you with a code that you’ll then enter into the site as confi rmation. Once the verification process is complete, take the time to fill out your profile comprehensively
beyond the basic details like your business hours and contact details. By adding things like a history of your business, photos of your location, and information about special offers you’re currently running, you create a better hook for people viewing your page that encourages them to leave a review or visit your website.
Once you’ve claimed your business, you’ll receive e-mail alerts when a new review is written about your business, and you’ll be able to respond directly to reviewers via e-mail. As a business owner you’ll also be able to see statistics on who has viewed your page.
Solicit Reviews:Once you’ve listed your business, the next step is to start getting reviews preferably positive ones.
Ask your customers: Even if you have happy customers, they may not think to write a review about their experience with your business on Yelp. Let them know you’re on the site by linking to your Yelp profile from other online channels such as your blog, website, e-mail signature, and company newsletter.
Ask your network: You can also ask people with whom you have an existing relationship, such as your friends, suppliers, partners, or vendors, to leave reviews. Rather than e-mailing them all at once, e-mail different subsets of people around once a month and ask them to leave reviews.
Use Your Account Information: Once you’ve set up your business account and are starting to get reviews, there are several other ways you can use your profi le to connect with the Yelp community.
Update with offers and announcements: On the “offers and announcements” page in your Yelp business account, you can upload details about news, events, and special off ers that your business is currently running. In addition to improving your brand image, keeping your profile current increases the chances that people will return to view it, as well as to share it with others they know.
View stats: In the summary tab of your Yelp business owner account, you’ll see statistics showing you how many people are viewing your Yelp page. This can be an effective way of measuring how successful your marketing efforts are in marketing your Yelp page. For example, you can track how many people view your page immediately after you post your Yelp profile on your Facebook page.
Install your badge: Installing a Yelp badge on your website or blog encourages your existing readers, or customers buying products off your site, to visit your Yelp page and leave a review.