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Improving Your Reputation in Yelp

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by Hugh Duffy

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Navjeet Chahal has taken the Yelp reviews to another level and his marketing is benefiting from the continuous effort. Yelp reviews - Navjeet - 14

In this calendar year, Navjeet has managed to acquire 38 Yelp reviews from satisfied clients' of his accounting firm. However, there have been some setbacks.

As background, Yelp has a filter designed to weed out fake or suspicious looking reviews. For example, they will look at reviews from a first time reviewer with lots of skepticism. Second, if your business has had zero reviews for years and then in one week, they receive a few reviews, it goes into the filter because it does not appear genuine.

So this year, Navjeet has acquired to generate a total of 38 reviews in Yelp. Out of this, 24 reviews are caught in the filter and 14 are live, which is still very impressive since most accounting firms have very few online reviews in Yelp.

Here are some tips that Navjeet shared with me today on the phone:

a.) Navjeet has downloaded the Yelp app onto his cell phone so it's easier to post reviews when he has free time. Within the past two months, he has written 53 reviews onto Yelp to elevate his badge status. He writes about 2-4 reviews each week and his badge status has been elevated from Rookie to Pro. Yelp has a badge program designed to encourage Yelpers to compete amongst each other and obtain certain levels of status.

b.) Steady does it – Getting lots of reviews in one week will get more reviews stuck in Yelp's filter. Approach this process as a marathon, not a sprint. Make it part of your weekly task list. Navjeet writes 2-4 reviews each week from different locations (many are business clients of his accounting firm) and the Yelp app does look at locations he is posting from. Net, post from different locations, not just your accounting office.

c.) Pay It Forward – Writing genuine reviews for your clients is a nice way to signal that you appreciate their patronage. It also indicates that you might be open to reciprocal treatment. While blatant review requesting is frowned upon by Yelp, subtle hints and making the public aware that you accept reviews is fine.

d.) BYF's reputation management tool makes it easier for your clients to post reviews onto multiple review websites from one landing page.

e.) Navjeet has applied this process to many types of clients. Professional Services to restaurants and retail. He plans to continue this each week from now until tax season. By tax season, he expects to receive about 5-8 reviews in Yelp each month.

f.) Clients that are not active Yelpers will most likely be filtered out. However, if they ultimately post reviews gradually over time, some of their reviews will move out of the filter and go live.

g.) Yelp reviews are longer and more in-depth than Google reviews. Google focuses on the number of stars while Yelp wants more passion and depth.

At the end of the day, Yelp appears to be making their best effort identifying passionate reviewers who understand the "community" of Yelp and want to share information to avoid bad experiences. Yelp does make an active effort to reward and recognize active Yelpers with their badge program.

Overall, Navjeet realizes that reputation management is a numbers game and is willing to put in steady efforts to receive the love back in the future. You've got nothing to lose by paying it forward with some well written online reviews. Download the Yelp app and integrate this into your weekly to do list.

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Hugh Duffy, BYF CEO and Co-Founder

Hugh is the consummate marketing coach for accountants and takes pride in the impact that it has on their practice, and lives. Hugh has more than thirty years of marketing experience. Since 2003, he has been teaching accountants on how to improve their marketing and make more money from their accounting practice.