Article by Carolyn Higgins

With more than 75% of adults turning to the internet to make LOCAL buying decisions, social networking sites like YELP are more popular than ever. In June of this year, 33 million consumers visited Yelp to learn about local / small businesses.

Whether you know it or not, your small business may already have a presence on Yelp. The question is – are you in control of it? Yelp is a social networking site that allSocial Media Marketing small businessows consumers to learn about – and rate – their favorite (and not-so-favorite) places to eat, shop, play, and spend their hard-earned dollars.

Ignoring social sites like Yelp isn’t going to make them go away or prevent negative reviews. Remember the golden rule of Social Media Marketing? SOCIAL MEDIA IS AT LEAST 51% LISTENING. And if you haven’t set up your listening station to be notified when people are talking about you (using Google Alerts, for example) on the web, you are missing a huge opportunity – and you could be responsible for sabotaging your own business.

Some Yelp Basics:

  1. You don’t have to claim your page or set up an account for people to be able to post reviews– That’s right- anyone can add your business and review it. You may already be there and not even know it. This could be extremely damaging to your business.
  2. Claim/unlock your business page– go to to claim your business page and unlock all the tools that are available to business owners. Like tracking number of visitors, demographic info of reviewers so you can learn more about your target market and how they found you, you can post hours, specials, photos, or anything else you want your potential customers to know about your business – and of course the ability to respond to reviews.
  3. Respond to negative reviews – either publicly or privately – what a great way to turn a negative into a positive! We all make mistakes and most consumers will forgive a mistake if it’s handled appropriately.

How to handle a negative review:

Respond privately: If someone leaves a bad review you now have the option of communicating with them privately to work it out. I recommend doing so – immediately. Do what you can to resolve the issue- this is an awesome opportunity to create goodwill, save a customer, and perhaps generate awesome word-of-mouth marketing.

Once the customer is happy ask them, “Have we satisfactorily resolved your complaint?” “Would you recommend us to a friend?” If the answer is yes, ask them if they would either revise or amend their Yelp review to let people know how your resolved the issue. If the customer doesn’t do it- you can then go to a public response – see below.

Respond publicly: You can also respond publicly and I’ve seen this done extremely well. You can tactfully state your case. Did you try unsuccessfully to resolve the issue? Tell people! Did you go out of your way to try to make it right? Tell people! Did you respond to the customer privately and rectify the situation? Talk about it! Also keep in mind – there will always be complainers- and the Yelp community can spot one a mile away (anyone can access all of a person’s reviews and if they’re chronic complainers their opinion will most likely be ignored by potential customers).

ducttapemarketingbadge Carolyn Higgins is the President and founder of Fortune Marketing Company. Her personal mission is to help small businesses stop wasting money on advertising and promotions that don’t deliver and help you implement an effective marketing system that will bring you more customers – consistently.
For more information about Carolyn Higgins and Fortune Marketing Company please visit
Email or call us at 707.718.4489.

Was this article helpful?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)