Last month, I wrote an article about Yelp restaurant reviews and whether or not they were helpful or harmful to business owners. Numerous folks weighed in with a mix of opinions, some of which suggested that Yelp was harmful to their business.
Ugly’s Pub co-owner Dustin Bowie, for example, reported that Yelp has been extremely helpful. "Yelp gives honest feedback from our guests' perspective that teaches us what we are doing right and what we need to work on," he says.
However, Jose Chavez, owner of Cafe La Paloma, has not found Yelp to be a helpful marketing tool.
"The opinions and reviews on Yelp can be partial and malicious and most of the time are based on only one visit," he says.
Rachel Fell, who lives in Milwaukee, is a marketing director for the San Francisco-based Yelp and one of her job-related missions is to help people understand Yelp’s offerings.
With this in mind, Fell will offer a workshop for business owners, marketing professionals and anyone working in the service industry.
"Basically, if you have questions or misconceptions about Yelp it's the right event for you," says Fell.
The event takes place on Friday, April 18, 2 p.m. at Anodyne Coffee, 224 W. Bruce St. Complimentary drinks and snacks will be served.
Some of the questions Fell will address include how a business can claim their business page, the best practices for responding to reviews and to address some of the misconceptions regarding advertising on Yelp.
According to Fell, Yelp can be a helpful tool for local businesses.
"Yelp drives local purchasing decisions – 82% of people using Yelp visit the site because they intend to buy a local product or service," she says.
Fell believes online review space is often misunderstood, but it isn’t in the best interest of any business owner to try to avoid it.
"With over 120 million monthly visitors and 53 million reviews on the site, Yelp's a true leader when it comes to word of mouth online," says Fell. "Real people – locals and tourists alike – are using the site to make spending decisions every single day, so as a business owner, why not educate yourself on best practices and ways to engage with the site and its users?"
Fell says that credibility is key in online review space and that Yelp takes credibility extremely seriously.
"It's really important. My aim with this event is to educate business owners and give them not just the information they need to better understand how Yelp works, but to also help them harness the power of the platform as well," she says.
However, as stated in the previous article, not all business owners and employees feel this way. Which is exactly why Fell is hosting the event.
To sign up, go here. Anyone interested in attending must RSVP because there is a capacity limit.
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