Last month, we wrote about the “perfect storm” of consumer preferences, technology advances and regulatory enabling that will unleash an online flood of financial advisor reviews. If this got your attention, you may want to try your hand at Yelp.
Yelp.com is the Big Kahuna of consumer-review sites. By the end of the first quarter of 2014, it featured 57 million local reviews, and boasted an average of 132 million unique monthly visitors.
Building out your presence and encouraging clients to review you on Yelp — as well as on other sites such as Google+ Local, CitySearch, and Insider Pages — can enhance your Web visibility, as well as generate prospect inquiries. Talk about barking up the right tree!
So, how do you get started on Yelp? Here are some pointers to make your Yelp entry howl-free:
First, think about whether now is the best time to get onboard. If you’re having problems meeting customer expectations or have legal or regulatory issues, you’ll need to fix them before jumping into the fray.
Second, make sure you have realistic expectations. If you have a thin skin, step away from the Yelp screen. To avoid sparking online flame wars, prepare yourself to receive negative comments. Then, establish written procedures for responding professionally to them.
Third, apply your ethical principles to your Yelp initiative. Resolve never to buy phony Yelp reviews, post false reviews about competitors, or write reviews about yourself. Yelp has become much more aggressive about rooting out scammers, going so far as to publicly shame them. Don’t go there!