The Power of Word-of-Mouth and Online Social Media Marketing: Part 2: By Patricia Baronowski-Schneider, CEO, Pristine Advisers

Optimize Yelp

If you have a brick and mortar business, Yelp can be a great tool for you, especially if you take the time to optimize your Yelp business page so it ranks highly in the search engine results pages.

If you have your own website, your Yelp business page is a nice little complement page to have. If you don’t have your own website, you can use your Yelp page as a sort of mini-website.

Fill in as much information as you can about your business in Yelp. This can include:

  •  Full physical and website address
  •  Phone number
  •  Business category
  •  Map location
  •  Logo
  •  Photos
  •  Price ranges
  •  History
  •  Menu
  •  Delivery and take-out information
  •  Whether or not your business is family friendly
  •  How many parking spots you have or where people can park
  •  Whether or not you takes reservations
  •  What kind of payments you accept
  •  Whether or not you have a dress code
  •  Your business’ Wi-Fi availability

Post great photos, use the keywords that your business targets in your descriptions, and use a tool like bit.ly to customize your Yelp page URL so it’s easy to remember. Then share that URL on all your advertising materials and your business cards etc.

The name of the Yelp game is reviews. You can gently nudge people to give you reviews by putting up some signs near the check out reminding people to give you a review, getting your cashiers to remind people to give you a review, having a friendly competition among your cashiers to see if any of them can get their names mentioned in a positive review on Yelp and putting a reminder on your receipts to stop by your Yelp page and leave a review.

(Don’t offer any incentives for positive reviews or you’ll be penalized.)

You can offer an incentive for checking in on Yelp like an inexpensive gift you can give away or use Yelp’s check-in offers to encourage check-ins. Put someone in your office in charge of Yelp initiatives so they aren’t forgotten about and make it a regular practice to check into these initiatives to make sure they’re working and tweak what isn’t.

You may consider hosting a Yelp Elite event. But do your research first, as there are advantages and disadvantages to hosting one of these events. They can get you high profile reviews quickly if done right.

Engage people who leave reviews. Reply with a thanks to the really good reviews and reply with a short apology and a vow to look into any problems to any negative reviews. Responding to negative reviews shows people you actually do read them and take into consideration what your customers are saying. It may even prompt the negative reviewer to update their review and soften it or acknowledge that you’ve done something about the perceived problem.

Be wary of making any offers to negative reviewers in the review section, though. If you want to offer an incentive to them to bring them back, that’s best done with a private message.

And, obviously, remember the basics. If you’re going to encourage people to give you reviews, make sure they’re going to be positive by offering the most stellar customer service you can.

Creativity

The main thing to remember when performing WOMO both online and offline is to get creative. Go beyond the discounts, the buy-two-get-one-free type sales and the referral promotions. Those all play an important role, of course, but to get people really talking about your business, you’ll need to brainstorm some original, thought-provoking and -- most importantly -- word-provoking ideas.

Want More Helpful Marketing Tips &  Tricks for your Business? Go to or Ask Patricia Baronowski-Schneider, CEO, Pristine Advisers, at http://www.pristineadvisers.com or pbaronowski@pristineadvisers.com.

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