Yelp Explained

There is a lot of talk in the business world about Yelp lately.  But what is Yelp?  The definition of Yelp suggests the idea of yelling . . . and the truth is, Yelp (the website) may be just that for your business.  So, what is it about Yelp that could garner so much attention for your business?  Here is a guide to understanding Yelp:

What is Yelp?  First, it helps to understand that Yelp is a new kind of social networking site, centered on customer reviews of local businesses.  Anyone can post a review on Yelp, and anyone searching the web can use Yelp to find and evaluate local businesses.

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Why Online Reputation Management is Important to Your Business

There is a lot of talk about online reputation management in board meetings these days.  It seems that as soon as businesses jumped on the web and social media marketing wave, the Internet evolved into an even more complex organism, now requiring a deeper look into marketing in this ever-evolving world.  It is no longer enough to establish your Internet presence.  Now you have to manage it: you MUST protect your reputation.  Why is online reputation management so important to your business?  Here are the things you should know:

The Statistics.  Studies show that 90 percent of all consumers use the Internet research businesses when searching for services or products they are interested in.  Regardless of the size and scope of your business, you simply cannot ignore that sector if you want your business to stay afloat.  Even more, over 99 percent of Internet users never get past the first page of search engine results.  They pay most attention to what they see at the top . . . and if you are not at the top, or if the top search results are not complimentary to your business, you are missing out – big time.

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What to Look for Before You Hire a Reputation Management Company

Your business’ online reputation is, quite literally, a matter of life and death . . . for your business, that is.  If you lack the time, patience, or know-how to manage your online reputation properly, then you owe it to your business to put the job in the hands of those who can do it well.  Fortunately for you, there are a number of companies that specialize in doing just that.  Unfortunately for you, they are not all created equal, and it may be hard to sort the good from the bad.  Need help?  Here are some tips for what to look for before you hire a reputation management company:

Services offered.  Different businesses need online reputation management for different reasons.  Identify what you want to accomplish with your reputation management (whether it be moving your business website further up search engine rankings or countering negative reviews, for example), and then ask potential companies what they specialize in.

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What to Expect Out Of Your Online Reputation Management Company

In today’s business world, online reputation means almost everything.  As a matter of fact, online reputation is so important that many businesses are now opting to hire firms that manage their online reputations.  If you have decided to take that all-important step, then you may be wondering what, exactly, the company you are paying the big bucks to will be doing.  Here is a guide to what to expect out of your online reputation management company:

Search engine rankings.  One of the primary goals of any reputation management strategy is to control what is on the first page of search engine results when someone searches for your business.  This is no small task, considering many SEO specialists might struggle to land just one spot at the top of page one.  However hard it is, it is important that you control what potential customers see when they search for you . . . and that means monopolizing that first page.

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Top 5 Ways to Monitor Your Online Reputation

These days, your business’ online reputation can make or break your business success.  People talk – whether they are unhappy or happy with your business – and talk spreads like wildfire on the world-wide web.  It’s not effective to stay impartial, “take the high road,” or turn the other cheek when it comes to handling things others say about you on the Internet.  As a matter of fact, being anything less than proactive about your online reputation can be downright dangerous to your business, as you can guarantee that if you don’t create your online reputation, someone else will . . . and that power could be very destructive in the wrong hands.  The first step to protecting your online reputation is monitoring it.  Here are five ways to monitor your online reputation:

How Sociable.  Register each of your social networking accounts with this program and it will tell you how relevant your pages are in relation to your competition, and then use that information to improve your online reputation.

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Top 3 Online Reputation Management Strategies

You had to create a business plan before starting your business, right?  And that meant outlining strategies for growing your business.  There is no doubt that business marketing was somewhere on that list . . . and in this day and age, you simply cannot ignore the Internet when marketing your business.  One thing you might not have thought of is the need to protect and grow your online presence.  Your business’ online reputation can go a long way in determining the success of your business, and so you must be proactive about creating the reputation you want – and that, too, requires strategizing.  Where do you begin?  Here are the top three online reputation management strategies:

Use the right tools.  There is perhaps no reputation management strategy than prevention, and a very powerful way to nip detrimental gossip in the bud is to monitor the web closely for anything and everything people are saying about your business.  There are a number of tools out there that exist to help you monitor your online reputation.  No one tool can monitor every online outlet.  You should therefore make use of social media tracking tools like Hootsuite and Socialmention, as well as web monitoring tools like Google Alerts and blog monitoring tools like BlogPulse.

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The Best Way to Respond to a Negative Online Review

No matter how you choose to run your business, it is inevitable that at some point or another, you will face the tough situation of getting a negative online review.  While it may be tempting to fire back in self-defense, or to wallow in self-pity, those reactions will only compound the criticism you are trying to escape.  Instead, it is best that you learn how to handle negative reviews, so that you can make the best of them, for the good of your business.  Here is a guide to the best way to respond to a negative online review:

Take the reviewer’s perspective.  Sure, it may be hard to take, but the truth is this: most reviews have some basis in fact, even if they are exaggerated.  Therefore, it is in your best interest to read between the lines when examining negative reviews.  It could be a great opportunity for you to improve your business.  Plus, taking some time to consider the other perspective is also a great way to step back and breathe some before formulating a response.

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Online Reviews

Online reviews play a large part in the development of your business’ online reputation.  For that reason, many businesses work hard to convince their customers to post reviews on all the popular review sites, hoping it will maximize their online reputations.  But is it really necessary to build up as many online reviews as you possibly can for your business . . . or is it possible that, when it comes to good reviews, a little bit goes a long way?  What is better, quality or quantity?  The answer is not a simple one, and can’t be put in black and white terms.  Read on to learn more:

Quantity.  In terms of exposure and search engine optimization, it only makes sense that you should want as many reviews for your business as possible.  That is because search engines notice when people talk about your business, and it makes your business seem more relevant to the online community.  Also, customers who are researching your business on review sites will undoubtedly consider the number of reviews as an indication of your credibility (even though it may have nothing to do with your level of service).  For these reasons, it is a good thing to have many business reviews.  However, it is also important to understand that numerous poor-quality reviews may do nothing for your business at all . . . and may even detract from your reputation by way of association.  That’s where quality comes in.

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Online Reputation Management for Small Businesses

As a small business, you are responsible for marketing your business – and that means identifying your most viable marketing avenues.  Whatever size your business is, there is no denying that it should have an Internet presence, as the Internet is the arguably the most powerful marketing arena there is.  A large part of establishing a strong online presence is managing your online reputation.  What is online reputation management for small businesses all about?  Here are some things you should know:

Where your reputation is formed.  There are a number of review sites that exist solely for allowing your customers and clients the opportunity to post their experiences with your business, and these sites are where your online reputation can be made or broken.  Online review sites include Foursquare, Yelp, Bing, and Urban Spoon, among others; even Google Places provides a dedicated space on your Places page for customer reviews.  In addition to the review sites, your online reputation is also affected by comments in industry forums, threads on social media sites, online articles, blog posts, public record documents, and more.

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How to Overcome a Bad Yelp Review

Yelp is a very powerful review site, where your customers may go to publish their personal experiences of dealing with your business.  Of course, it is only natural to hope that these testimonials are good.  However, you will eventually run into a bad review, and it is in your best interest to learn how to handle such reviews.  Believe it or not, you can actually turn negative reviews into positive affirmations of your business credibility.  Want to know how?  Here are some tips for how to overcome a bad Yelp review:

Pay attention to what is being said.  Sure, it may be hard to read anything negative about your business, but instead of jumping to defense, you need to keep in mind that there is likely some truth to the review (even if it is derogatory or exaggerated).  By carefully considering what you are reading, you may be able to pinpoint some areas where your business could legitimately use some betterment.

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