You understand that few things are more important than your business’s reputation. Your Yelp profile can be one of the most important digital profiles there is when it comes to shaping how your business is viewed by current and future customers. That means it isn’t an environment you can set and forget, much less ignore altogether.
Putting your best foot forward on Yelp hinges on taking control of your profile and actively managing it. Just like Google, Yelp uses an algorithm that takes a number of factors into account when determining how high a business ranks within the site. Read on for a list of practical tips to help you do just that.
Tell them what they need to know.
Make sure your most basic and important business information is up-to-date: hours of operation, street address, and phone number. Don’t forget to update your Yelp page on national holidays and other days you will be closed or have business hours that are different than normal.
Call out your unique value proposition.
Customers like to know what makes your company special—why you started the business and what sets you apart from your competitors. Find a way to say it simply and make sure it’s prominently displayed. No need to be precious (unless that’s part of your brand). Just be honest and sincere.
Add great photos.
Make sure the images show your products, customers engaging with your products, and your employees serving your customers. These little slices of life help paint a more complete picture of who you are and what customers can expect. Do your best to take quality photos. We like this primer from Gizmodo about how to take good photos with your cell phone.
Include a full list of your products and services.
You never know when you can benefit from a customer having a craving for something you carry. In this respect, more is more when it comes to creating your Yelp profile. To get the most out of Yelp’s algorithm, place your core products and services within the first sentence of the “Specialties” section to ensure that when people search for products, services and menu items you offer, your business shows up.
Link to your website.
Even though we suggest adding a full list of products and services, Yelp isn’t designed to be an end-all, be-all repository of knowledge about your company. Hopefully you have a cleanly designed site you can link to so that curious customers can learn more if they want. (Clover Online provides a simple way to create and maintain a professional and attractive web presence.)
Respond to positive reviews.
We’re not saying you have to respond to all of them, but choose some of the best and interact. It allows your personality to shine through and shows that you’re actively engaged with your customers.
Show appreciation when someone gives you fulsome praise and/or a 4- or 5-star review. Let customers know how grateful you are for both their business and their positive review—and that you strive to deliver that same level of excellence to every customer you have.
Respond to negative reviews, too.
This might not seem like your idea of fun, but you should also read and respond to negative reviews. Why? It shows you care about customers’ experience, and it shows your commitment to bettering your business. Here are a couple of specific steps you should follow when dealing with negative reviews. You can find more detail about how to implement each suggestion here.
- Determine the review’s accuracy. Focus on the facts and remember there are two sides to every story.
- Keep your cool. As tempting as it might be, never argue with the customer. Instead, try to regain their respect by explaining what went wrong, and how you’re going to fix the issue.
- Use your normal customer service policy. If you were wrong, say so. And then tell them the steps you’re going to take to make it right.
- Compensate where appropriate. Offer them an incentive to come back, like a free meal, a discount, or an invite to a special event.
- Stop future problems before they start. By using a tool like Clover Rewards, you can receive feedback privately from customers before their experience mushrooms into a big public complaint session.
- Get some good news out there. Don’t be afraid to remind customers that you have a Yelp page. People love to share their positive experiences, and they’re just what you need to offset any negative reviews. And remember, it’s not acceptable to pay for reviews. Not only is that morally wrong, it’s also against Yelp’s policy.
Be diligent about following these suggestions to help you mold a great Yelp profile that has your business ready for (digital) primetime.[image: Yelp Prohibition Party by Mack Male on flickr]
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