Is Yelp Overrated for Restaurants?

Yelp – your customers use it, and businesses seem to be benefiting from it. According to experts at How Stuff Works, “… Out of all of Yelp’s reviews, 85 percent of them have ratings that are three stars or higher, meaning many people come to talk about their positive experiences rather than the negative ones.” But, the question remains, is it overrated?

The answer is no.  Yelp is about so much more than reviews, it is the leading US local guide for word of mouth, according to Bee-Social.com. And, with customers getting increasingly mobile, many turn to Yelp to find food on the go.

Yelp’s personal findings, released in early 2011, found that Yelp users called a business every other second from the mobile application and 35% of all Yelp searches came from a mobile phone. So, from selling to engaging with customers, if you do it right, it is far from overrated – it’s actually a significant benefit to your business.

You Have To Be Present on Yelp

Yelp doesn’t just work for everyone. In order to see benefits from this popular word of mouth site you have to be present on your business profile. Like any other review site, you want to be sure customers are getting the right information about your business.

  • Fill in your information: The first thing you should do is fill out all of your business information. If you’re getting good reviews, but the address is wrong or your phone number isn’t present, you could be missing out on great business.
  • Add photos: Customers want to know what they’re going into. Photos can portray the environment and vibe that your business provides its diners.

You Have To Be Involved on Yelp

Like any other social site that you use for marketing, you need to be present and engaged on Yelp. You’ve seen the downward social spiral of many businesses who weren’t involved with their social platforms, letting bad press fall into the hands of the angry customers. If you’re involved, you can turn a bad situation into a good one.

  • Constructive responses to bad reviews: Yelp has recently started to allow businesses to respond to negative comments. Being involved will allow you to apologize or correct misinformation. If you’re not sure how to tackle this, check out Yelp’s guide to responding to bad criticism.

You Have To Be Selling on Yelp

While many businesses consider Yelp another fad, this site can be valuable to your business in more ways than one. Yelp is a platform for selling, not just getting reviews. Taking advantage of these selling options will help you get much more from the platform.

  • Check in offers: Everyone is mobile and connected, so offering check in deals reaches your highly connected customers and gets them through the door.
  • Yelp advertising: Yelp allows you to run specials for Yelp users only. This is a great way to convert the many visitors that peruse the site. When you submit an offer or announcement, it not only shows on your page but in the announcements directory as well – which allows you to reach customers that aren’t even looking for you.

Yelp is not a passing fad or just another site to sell on. As the premiere website for word of mouth marketing, it’s extremely beneficial to your business – if you get involved. Whether you simply fill out the correct business information, or converse with disgruntled customers, all points lead to anything but overrated.

What is your opinion? Do you think Yelp is overrated for restaurant websites and blogs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo credit: flickr.com

Amanda Dee is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including San Francisco restaurants. She writes for Restaurants.com, a leading directory of local restaurants.

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