There are some compelling reasons make Yelp part of your online presence. And while the advantages of integrating Yelp into your marketing strategy seem appealing, the downside may outweigh them. Here are 2 important arguments for avoiding Yelp at this time:
1. Unnecessary compliance issues. If you don’t currently have a presence on Yelp, it may be best to avoid creating a profile. Reviews will create another level of complexity from both a maintenance and compliance standpoint. There are questions surrounding the solicitation of reviews, responding to negative reviews and archiving. Not having a profile will help you avoid these issues.
2. Inaccurate representation of your firm. Yelp works well for companies with large customer bases, such as restaurants and hotels. With thousands of patrons, if even a small percentage of customers submit reviews, there is enough of a sample for a fair representation of the business. However, a business with a few hundred clients doesn’t have a large enough base. Furthermore, you run the risk of receiving reviews from people who have never worked with your business (i.e., competitors). And an inaccurate representation of your company is worse than no representation at all.
Think very carefully before using Yelp for your business. While Yelp may eventually become the standard for advisor reviews (as opposed to advisor-focused sites), it may be worth waiting a few months to see how other firms approach Yelp, how compliance experts interpret the rules and if the SEC will offer any further guidance.
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Kristen Luke is the principal of Wealth Management Marketing, a firm dedicated to providing marketing strategies and support for registered investment advisory firms. For more information, visit www.wealthmanagementmarketing.net.