The universe is abuzz about the new iPhone, but why should you care? The latest iPhone OS will feature a new Apple Maps app that incorporates reviews from Yelp. Search for nearby apartments or self storage facilities and Yelp reviews pop up on the map. It'll be virtually impossible for iPhone users to ignore online reviews of your properties. Taking control of your online reputation is more important than ever.
Think Yelp isn't a big deal? Think again.
- Yelp had an average of approximately 71 million monthly unique visitors in Q1 2012
- 6.3 million unique visitors used a Yelp mobile app
- Every second a consumer looks up or calls a business from a Yelp mobile app (Q42011)
- A photo was uploaded every 30 seconds from a Yelp mobile app
- Yelpers have written over 27 million local reviews.
- Over 40% of all Yelp searches come from their mobile apps. (Q4, 2011)
Yelp is huge. It shapes the way people shop for anything, including apartments or self storage units.
So what can you do? Take control of your online reputation. Here are a few tips from Forbes to help you take control of Yelp reviews:
- Claim your listing. Business owners can have a free account that enables them to respond to customer reviews (privately as well as publicly). Details from Yelp are here on the Business Owner’s Account page.
- Take a deep breath before you respond to a negative review, but you should almost always respond. There are times when it is best not to and Yelp offers pointers on when you shouldn’t. That deep breath is true in just about any situation where someone criticizes you, but the internet has a long memory. Many customer service experts recommend viewing the negative feedback as a wakeup call to what you can fix. I’m not saying the customer is always right, far from it, but just proceed slowly as you think about how to respond. You can private message a reviewer once you have an account.
- Try to get more reviews. As you receive positive reviews, they will eventually raise your “score” and push a negative review lower. It will still exist, but it won’t dominate your profile. It isn’t considered appropriate to request positive reviews from customers, but many merchants do it. It is better to encourage and welcome feedback. Yelp gives a lot of advice to business owners.
- Consider advertising on Yelp. This is one of the areas where owners feel it is a bit of extortion. If you advertise on Yelp, you can remove competitors ads from your listing/profile page. I understand the small business owner’s perspective here, but it isn’t much different than other search engine result pages that show “sponsored ads” from your competitors. It’s a tough web world out there.
Yelp may be the leader in online reviews, but there are many more online review sites that can make or break your business. Managing them all individually can be nearly impossible. To learn how to manage your online reputation through one easy-to-use interface, check out G5 Reputation Manager: