Best practices for small businesses using Yelp: Part 2

By Alisha Rechberg, Online Copywriter at PennySaverUSA

In part 1 of this series, I explained what is and why it’s important for businesses. If you have yet to read that piece, I recommend that you give it a read first – Explaining Yelp & what it means for your business.

When it comes to, many businesses prefer to leave it alone and let the users run rampant with posting reviews and photos. Either they don’t think they have time to monitor their page or they aren’t sure how to best handle users appropriately. However, this isn’t a wise route. Today, I’ll go over the best practices for businesses using and how following these can make your experience a success.

Buff up Your Profile.

  • Post your own photos, add detailed descriptions about the business and owner, update any incorrect information, and spread the good review karma by leaving positive and honest reviews of other businesses you like in the area. Empower Fitness Training in Santee, CA, does a wonderful job in owning its profile. Owner Kari has filled out the “About This Business” section with informative descriptions, made recommendations of other San Diego businesses, and added quality photos of the gym. This gym may be on the smaller side, but it packs a huge punch on and her efforts have paid off – 5 stars on!
    Empower Fitness in Santee has an Exceptional Profile

    Buff up your profile like Empower Fitness in Santee

Key Items to Remember About Your Profile:

  • Match your profile to your site and other social media profiles. You want to create a unified presence on the Internet by having the same tone, look, and feel.
  • Only post quality photos to Make sure your photos look professional, sharp, and show off the best features of your business.
  • When leaving reviews for other businesses, be honest and positive. Negative reviews may come back to hurt you and overly sales-like ones can make you appear untrustworthy to customers.
  • Be authentic when you fill out the information about your business. Don’t make BIG exaggerated claims because Yelpers will quickly shoot them down and make you look unprofessional.

Interact with Yelpers.

  • This might be the scariest part. What do you say to people who love your business and what do you say to those that don’t?

Rule of Thumb when Interacting with Yelpers:

  • For those that post kind reviews (4 to 5 stars): It’s best to privately message them. Thank them for their encouraging words and, if possible, offer a coupon for their next visit. Some companies also like to publicly reply to positive reviews, which is a nice touch. But remember a profile should feel community-owned and adding too many comments from the owner loses the authenticity. As an alternative to replying, you can give them virtual high-fives for their review by checking “useful, funny, or cool” on the bottom of the review.
  • For those that post negative reviews (1 to 2 stars), businesses should publicly reply to their comments with politeness and a promise to improve. Another recommendation is to privately message these reviewers and offer a discount for giving your business another try. Hot Fries in Santa Ana, CA, does a wonderful job in approaching negative reviews and offering a resolve.
    Hot Fries Approach to Answering Negative Reviews

    Hot Fries Does an Excellent Job in Answering Negative Reviews

Market Your Profile.

  • Unlike “if you build it, they will come,” Yelpers may never come to your profile organically. And the downside? Not having reviews on your Yelp page may work against you, especially if your competitors have wonderful reviews.

Free Ways to Market Your Profile:

  • Throw an event and post a free listing on’s Event Page. Your ad will be seen by more local Yelpers and if you throw a great event, you’ll get even more exposure. Events can be as simple as “free (product or service) for the first 500 customers.”
  • Tell customers about your profile. You can do this by: sending out a newsletter to your email list, letting customers know you’re on on your website, asking them to leave a review when they are in your store, or by using other social media sites to drive traffic to your profile.

Visit Your Profile Frequently.

  • Be aware of your brand reputation and what others are saying by checking your profile at least once a week. Yelp makes it easy by sending you an email alert every time someone posts a review. All you have to do is make sure your brand image is going in the direction you want it to go.

Like all review sites, words can hurt. But if you follow these helpful small business tips to navigate the community and you listen to what your customers recommend, you’re on your way to having a really successful business.