I use Yelp on a weekly-basis, and I never really thought of it as a marketing tool that companies can control. However, there are a few articles I came across that suggest increasing your business’ presence on and use of Yelp. A very useful article I will be using for this post is from vivial.net. I want to summarize the advice given to marketers and give my opinions on those methods as an average consumer.
They state that 44% of customers base their decision after reading reviews. I am definitely one of those people. If a business has under 4 stars, I am unlikely to bother going there. Additionally, I care about the Yelp page as a whole, like business information. If there is no website linked, I usually do not trust the business, therefore I will not go there.
One piece of advice the article gives is to post your own photos, which as a consumer, I partially disagree with. If I go on Yelp and look at pictures, usually for a restaurant, I want to see what customers ate, not a photoshoot the business did to make their food look better. Another situation is for hair salons. Just the other day, I was on Yelp looking at salons in San Diego. One of them was obviously the owner and only employee. A majority of the photos were ones she had taken, and I was a little off-put because she can choose to show what goes well.
The last advice the article gives is to respond to reviews, both positive and negative. They state that 33% of negative reviews turn positive when you respond to them. I have occasionally seen people update a negative review because a manager or customer service rep contacted them. I have definitely seen employees respond harshly to reviewers, and although reviewers can be harsh too, customers are always right.