One of the greatest frustrations for small- to medium-sized businesses is the speed at which technology and social engagement moves and changes, and how every single change seems to impact their profitability. In contrast to large corporations, SMB owners do not have the liberty to focus all their energy on marketing and advertising, since the heart of their success rests in execution.
The biggest downfall for most SMB owners is facing the reality that business demands a generalist approach, when their hearts most often rest on the specifics of their businesses. For those facing the overwhelming feeling of defeat that comes, say, from online reviews on Yelp flowing at an intense speed, and not always with a positive note, it is essential to constantly be reminded that there is hope.
You heard us: even when you feel defeated by Yelp, there’s hope!
While it may feel like having to wear a million hats, there are tips and tricks and simple implementations, like having a review and reputation management tool that can restore your sense of control and help your business reviews move in the right direction.
Unlocking the Yelp Profile
Passivity is not an option. Once the review snowball begins to form, it would be foolish and neglectful for the business owner to sit idle. The first step toward interactive engagement consists of unlocking your profile on Yelp.
By activating a profile, your business is empowered with essential engagement tools that will allow you to be both proactive and reactive to review trends. Features include the ability to respond both in a public forum and in private, ability to add photos, and the option to build a more robust user profile that conveys your business features and services in the best possible light.
Building your user profile is a great opportunity to frame your business in keyword-sensitive fashion and maximize your traffic generation via Yelp.
Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk
Yelp is a linear continuum and fretting over a single review is not the way effective marketers operate. The goal of any smart organization is to set the stage of future engagements and work on generating positive buzz that will supersede negative reviews of the past.
Another discouraging aspect of Yelp is the hidden reviews found under Yelp’s Review Filter. Yelp’s filter is notorious for hiding glowing reviews and leaving small businesses with a bitter taste in their mouths.
By removing your best reviews, Yelp’s mysterious algorithm may quite possibly be unfairly deflating your overall score. While this may appear unfair, do not dwell on it. The secret rests in increased engagement, careful management, and intentional interactivity.
Offline Engagement Matters
If a company is confident that their overall business model and level of service is up to par, it is time the company implements an ongoing offline strategy to encourage online engagement. At a minimum, this should include collateral provided by Yelp and other online review websites designed to be displayed on location.
More creative marketers implement staff training aimed at posing open questions to new customers and asking how they found out about them. This type of engagement often triggers new reviews. Some restaurateurs have gone as far as providing portable lighting and making it available to their customers who wish to take phone photography of their plates. Another excellent example includes a hair salon chain in New York that has trained their staff to mention their positive Yelp reviews to customers during casual conversation, while highlighting how encouraging it is for a professional to have someone assess their work online.
Moving forward with a review management strategy is exactly that: moving forward. Don’t dwell in the past or rest on former laurels, but instead work daily toward constant improvement and increased buzz.