Digital Marketing: Are You Making the Most of Your Yelp Reviews?

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You may be leery of online reviews. Some seem obviously professionally written (really, you just happened to write out the specs in bullet points on your review?), and others seem like they are looking for a place to vent their frustration with life in general. Don’t write off online reviews just yet. Those posted on Yelp can be a powerful part of your digital marketing strategy, depending on how you handle them.

You may see review sites like Yelp as a landing place for complaints, but the reality is that most reviews on Yelp are positive. In fact, the site reports that the majority of the reviews are positive, with 68 percent of them landing four or five stars.

Here are a few pointers for effectively using reviews to cast a positive light on your dealership, even when they’re negative.

Respond: The best initial action you can take to any review is to respond to it. Of course, you’ll want to handle it based on the content:

  • When it’s a positive review, take a moment to send a direct message, thanking them for their business and for taking time to post a positive review. After all, they didn’t have to go to the trouble, so you want to be sure to acknowledge that effort. Once in a while, you’ll also want to publicly respond to a positive review so that those reading reviews will know that you read them, too.
  • When it’s a negative review, respond as soon as possible. If you’re a little frustrated or tempted to lash out in your response, then recruit someone else to help you craft a reasonable response or take it over for you. Include both a private response asking for more information to resolve the situation and a public response that acknowledges the complaint with a promise to work to a resolution.

Download the app: There’s a separate app for Yelp business owners (it’s blue, not red) that allows you to manage your reviews right from your smartphone. Don’t leave reviews until you happen to check Yelp because you may allow a situation to fester with an unhappy customer. Instead, set it up to send you alerts so that you can immediately address both positive and negative feedback.

Show it off: Don’t leave your reviews on Yelp gathering dust. Share them on social media with a shout-out to your customer and connect it with a link on a special promotion you’re doing. You can also print out reviews in a bigger font and use them as decorations in your dealership. You don’t want to wallpaper your showroom in them, but don’t be afraid to share a reviewer that had a particularly positive experience.

Yelp reviews have the potential to augment your digital marketing plan by giving you the opportunity to continue the conversation with your customer. Embrace Yelp and make it a part of a balanced brand awareness campaign for your dealership.

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