Check online reviews, advises communicator

Independent businesses must cash in on conversations going on about them online, according to Yelp, the reviews and online recommendations company .

Yelp communications manager Elliot Adams said online customer reviews are playing an important role in the success of businesses. He said such ‘conversations’ are informing consumers’ decisions about where they eat, buy their food from and what activities they choose to do.

“It’s no surprise that online reviews are one of the most effective word-of-mouth marketing and reputation-building tools for small businesses,” Adams said. “Reviews have the potential to boost sales and also help you identify the areas for improvement.”

He also said it was surprising how many businesses had entries on review sites without adding images or basic information. Adams explained that research from Yelp suggested people spent more than twice as much time on a business page with a photo, than one without.

Research carried out by the company also suggested it was important to respond when possible to people commenting on your business. “Thank them at the very least,” Adams said. “Everyone likes to know there’s a real person behind a business, not some faceless company.”


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