I first met Yelp at a tweet up at the Dali Museum. They were enthusiastically handing out arm sweatbands and fans. I happily gave my email address in return for the tchotchkes. What is it about us humans and freebies?
Yelp is a social networking, user review, and local search website. The website is a bit busy with lots of information in one place, but effective with over 25 million local reviews.
I’m a fan of supporting local businesses, so I like this part of the website. Here you can find information on the place down the street, if the coffee is good, or if they don’t keep frequent hours. You can perform a search and read the reviews if you are looking for somewhere specifically.
You may find that you connect with many others whom have a tastebud love affair with downtown eatery’s bagels or a place to find the best salsa dancing lessons.
The categories range from restaurants to religious organizations and real estate.
Businesses, and anyone, can create a free account. Businesses can message their customers too, which opens the communication and makes it a 2-way street.
This leaves a business wide open for direct criticism, but I always say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. If the business is truly on the “up and up,” then responding to customer complaints shouldn’t be the challenge and provideds another way to win those who do peruse the comments and reviews.
Let’s face it, you also can’t please all the people all the time and you may have to fire some customers and agree to disagree as they find another place to visit…or torture.
Offline events also occur, much like the one I attended. We live in a digitally social world, but occasionally some of us enjoy face to face contact. Yelp fuels this with an events section of which establishments or event planners can post events. (Hint.)
The face to face events are another grand opportunity for a business to take advantage of and host an event.