Yelp is a local review site where consumers can check-in with, rate and review the local businesses they frequent. Yelp Scraper offers a website that can be pulled-up via any browser and used to search for local business information. It also offers a mobile check-in service like Foursquare. The mobile application is actually very easy to use and has been mentioned by the likes of Apple CEO and Founder, Steve Jobs for its popularity and ease of use. Here are a few statistics from an official and recent Yelp Press Release:
Unlike other location based services like Foursquare or Facebook Places, Yelp has an official employee, called Community Manager in most major cities in the USA and even a few select cities abroad. It is the job of these Community Managers to make sure that Yelp gives back and rewards the Yelp community for contributing content and reviews to the website. Monthly and in some cases weekly meet-ups occur between fellow Yelpers and the Community Manager to have a little fun (usually over food and drink) to discuss what is working and mostly to just interact and have a good time.
This method of rewarding users is a great example of taking care of the people who are passionate about your business or service. As a result, Yelpers keep using the service to connect and share local business information. It’s really a beautiful thing.
And for a small business the opportunities to connect with Yelpers and build a positive image are immense. Does not take much either, just a few hours a month will get it done. Claiming your local business listing is free; then when people check-in or leave a review for you, simply login and thank them or reply to it as acknowledgement you care. This alone will set you aside from your competition. Then, as you grow more comfortable with Yelp and the features it provides, dig a little deeper and start communicating more regularly with the Yelp community. My advice is to simply get started and stay active; the rest will unfold naturally.
We witnessed this first hand when my girlfriend and I took a weekend getaway to a Bed-and-Breakfast. We had a wonderful time and left a very positive review. Well, this particular business owner had never heard of Yelp before, but he does Google himself regularly and our review came up on the first page. He actually took the time to send us a personal email and went on to say that he could not ask for better advertising. And that is just what Yelp is, a form of word-of-mouth advertising.