5 Steps to Make the Most out of Yelp

September, 2010

Since Yelp.combegan in 2005, 11 million reviews have been posted by “yelpers,” customers who comment about businesses they visit. Many Hawaii businesses are on Yelp, but a lot don’t know they can claim their business page for free, says Emi Hart, Yelp’s community manager for Honolulu.

1. Claim business page

Business owners can go to www.yelp.com/business to view a video on how to claim their business page. “It’s a way for them to market themselves without having to spend money, to learn about what is working and what people love about their business,” Hart says.
2. Upload photos

Hart says a lot of yelpers photograph products, but she recommends owners take their own pictures, such as of a restaurant’s various dishes. Stephanie Ichinose, director of communications for Yelp, recommends posting a photo of the storefront so customers will recognize it. “Photos can make a huge difference in the way your page looks,” Ichinose says.
3.Post key facts

Many yelpers use mobile devices when searching for a store or a place to eat, so both Ichinose and Hart recommend businesses make sure their address, phone number and hours are correct, and provide other information.
4. Fill out

a business profile Hart calls the profiles an “ ‘About Me’ section … where the business can tell its story.” Owners can tell the history of the business and its specialties, and profile themselves. Another section allows business owners to post sales or special offers.
5. Respond to Yelpers

Owners can privately message or publicly respond to yelpers who review their business, but Ichinose recommends acting cautiously and taking a 24-hour break before responding to negative reviews. If this is done right, she says, owners can turn negative reviewers into loyal customers.

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Mark Brislin