I frequently have conversations with small business owners about Yelp. These chats are sometimes joyful, but more often they are filled with some confusion, frustration and hope. It all comes down to reviews: how many are there, how high’s the star count, and are they filtered or not. For established consumer-facing businesses with lots of positive reviews, Yelp is just about their best friend. This is because Yelp can drive massive traffic. Yelp is now the 29th most visited site in the US according to Alexa.com If a business doesn’t have enough reviews though – like mine with one, Yelp’s doing just about nothing. I’m not too worried about it because my business is more of a B2B and even Yelp admits they’re not nearly as strong at helping B2B’s drive serious leads. What if you’re a B2C and you want more reviews from your satisfied customers who regularly tell you to your face how much they like your business? Shouldn’t you ask them to write a review for you on Yelp? Maybe you could make it easy by having a laptop connected to Yelp right in your lobby? Why it’s not a good idea to ask for Yelp reviews This is hard for me to recommend you pull back from asking for Yelp reviews because it seems like such a natural idea. In fact, I’ve done it! But not just for Yelp. I’ve asked for LinkedIn Recommendations and Google reviews, too. I think the only thing I haven’t asked for is a Facebook recommendation. Does anyone really look at those? I digress. So, why shouldn’t you ask for Yelp reviews? The #1 reason is because the overwhelming majority of people using the internet aren’t Yelpers, that is, the people writing Yelp reviews. According to Yelp’s blog only 1% of the Yelp community actually write reviews. Another 9% will engage with them. The rest, some 90%, will read them. If this is true, and it’s probably pretty darn close since much of the social community works this way, what are the chances the customer you ask is going to be a Yelper? Slim at best. But what if your customer likes you so much that they want to do this for you as a favor to help your business? You encourage them to set up an account and write their first Yelp review for you. Guess what happens next? Their review is filtered because Yelp finds something fishy about the review or reviewer. That is the review just might gush too much or have too little detail about their engagement with your business or because they’re brand new to Yelp with no friends or prior reviews Yelp just decides that they were put up to the review by the business owner. The Filter Whoops, Yelp’s right! This is why they have the filter. If you’re not sure about what the filter is you can watch the short video referenced above about it. You see, Yelp figured out a long time ago that small business owners wouldn’t be able to resist putting their customers up to reviewing them. Thus, they created the filter. Incidentally, they also want to prevent disgruntled employees or competitors from having an artificial means of damaging a business by writing malicious reviews filled with lies. The filter works to block those reviews, too. The more I think about the more I realize that the filter’s a pretty smart idea. You could say it keeps us honest. If we know the odds of us getting a 5-star review just by asking are slim, it leaves us to just focus on doing the best we can to create so many happy customers that eventually we’ll please a Yelper. Just last week I was speaking to a speech therapist who had ¾ of her reviews filtered. What a shame I said. Her response was that she thinks that some of those reviews were written for her as something like a going away present when she chose to leave Southern California for the Bay Area. Interesting. By the way don’t believe even for a second that you can get Yelp to unfilter your reviews by paying them to advertise on the network. Yelp is so scrutinized for improper behavior after being in court more than a few times that they just aren’t going to do anything like that. Maybe there was a time, but those days are over. Yelp is clear to point out that plenty of advertising businesses have filtered reviews while those who don’t advertise have plenty of exposed reviews and are getting monthly leads. It’s true. What Can You Do? To get more Yelp reviews I fully recommend you do two things: 1. Have an outrageously great business; and 2. Set up your Yelp page and let customers know you have one. Put the Yelp logo on your website, in your newsletter, in your ads and so forth. By pointing people to your page you’ll naturally get reviews over time since you’re providing outstanding service paired with great products. This is exactly how Yelp wants you to do it. Play by their rules and you’re more likely to win. Have questions about Yelp? Please post them below in the Comments.
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Now hear this! You can actually sell with social media. If, you do it right. Here are 3 proven ways to do just that. 1. Be totatlly transparent about it. A lot of people wring their hands over just how often you should post a blatant pitch for people to buy something. There are those who espouse the 80/20 rule. In other words provide value 80% of the time and you will earn the right to sell 20% of the time. Here's a much easier way. Create an account that's just for selling. This way you don't need to worry about providing great content, adding value or sharing other people's posts. You just sell, sell and sell some more. This philosophy is taken from email marketing where people sign up for a list because they actually want to be emailed coupons. I remember signing up for Subway's newsletter looking for good deals to be sent straight to my in-box on a regular basis. I wanted to be sold sandwiches. Here are a few examples of this method in action. In this example you can see that Dell has created a Twitter account that's just for selling. If you follow this account you know you're going to get tweet after tweet of great deals on computer equipment. Here's another example: Same concept as the Dell account. You're following this account because you want to save money on air fare. If you want to sell on a regular basis, then why not be really clear about it and set up a selling account? Simple, right? 2. Offer great deals. Another way to sell with social media is to offer some really good deals. People find it hard to resist a really good offer. So, what I mean here is don't just give a little bit off; give a lot off. Here's an example taking this tip to the max: It's kind of hard to see how Lujure could have offered a better deal. No wonder hundreds of people claimed the offer. Some may have skipped it because they thought it was too good to be true though. You do need to be careful about that. I don't typically recommend 100% off. Anything above 50% should grab attention. By the way, this is an example of a Facebook Offer. You don't need to use a paid vehicle to make a great offer though. You could do it in a regular social post. 3. Use video. The fact is that the attention span of someone viewing social media posts is really short. Moreover, they are distracted by all that's going on around your post. Whether it's the Facebook ticker or the ever flowing stream of new Tweets or LinkedIn updates it's hard to stay focused. This is where video comes in. If someone clicks on a video, then they're going to have to focus on it to actually get something out of it. The interesting thing about video is that it not only gets attention in a singular way, but people are used to being sold by it. We grew up on TV and its ad-based format. When we watch video online we're willing to be sold to if it's good. The other great feature of video in a social post is that you can capture someone's attention for 30 - 60 seconds. That's a short video, but if you were to write out 30 - 60 seconds of text it would be a really long post that people would just skip over. Know what I mean? Use video to do your selling for you and you just might see better results. Here's an example from my own playbook. In this post on Facebook I embedded a video that ran for a little over a minute. It's an obvious commercial for an event. So, if you watch it, then you're falling in to commercial viewing mode, which is exactly what I wanted. I'm actually more comfortable selling with video because it's the closest thing to me selling you in person. Well there you have it. 3 proven ways to sell with social media. You really can do it if you'll just be more direct about it in my opinion. I wish you success with these. Which of these are you going to use? Do you believe they could work for you? Let me know your thoughts in the Comments below.
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