Recently, I was looking for the address of a place that I was going to host a baby shower at. When I did a google search for the address, a Yelp Review came up! It actually gave me all the information that I was looking for so I didn’t even have to find the “official website” of this place. I saw there was a review so of course I read it.
This personal experience opened my eyes to the power of Yelp. I’m trying to summarize what it is and why I think you as a Real Estate Agent or Broker need to know about it, but please post comments if you have any other questions and of course share your own personal experiences too since I’m new to “Yelping”.
What Is Yelp.com?
Yelp is an online city guide made up of reviews from real people. Users can search for what they are looking for by type (tacos) or by category (Hotels) or actual business names (StartingPoint Realty). Searches are all local by city or zip.
As a Real Estate Agent or Broker, Why Do YOU Need to Know About Yelp?
There are many opinion websites out there but Yelp has thrived while others have generally petered out. According to their site, as of February 2009, more than 20 million people visited Yelp in the previous 30 days. That is pretty significant.
- You will get organic search engine optimization and more traffic to your website: I have found that recently Yelp is coming up VERY high on the search engines. Among other things, because Yelp is all text and changes/updates often, the Search Engines LOVE it. Once your Yelp listing is found, the user can then click through to your website, thus allowing you to capture the lead and create traffic to your website.
- Reading reviews is what we do and it does impact our decisions: In general, I believe that our society is bombarded by advertisements and we have become so skeptical. I believe that because of the internet, we have all become little researchers... looking up everything we do or purchase to see what other people thought about it. When ordering online, I personally WILL read the reviews of a product (since most websites now offer this) and those reviews DO impact my final decision. No matter how much advertising I’ve seen about a product, if I’m ordering it and I see it has several bad reviews, I truly wouldn’t buy it. This is where we are as a society... we rely of other’s opinions and because these opinions are so readily available, they truly impact our decisions.
- Free exposure for your events and offers: If you host buyer/seller seminars, get them onto Yelp for FREE! If you don’t host buyer or seller seminars/events you should consider it ! Yelp also let’s you post Offers. A few that come to mind that you could create are “Free Comparative Analysis of your Home” or perhaps a “Free VIP Buyer Program - Get the Latest Listing Fast, Automated & No Obligation.” This is a huge community of people that are using Yelp as a social outlet, so DO take advantage of this large audience.
- Yelp Discussions: Worth mentioning but not as important as the three above is the conversation page on Yelp, better known as Yelp Talk. This page allows people to converse about any topic. I found a few Real Estate related conversations that would be relevant for an agent to respond to (and thus get more exposure and possible leads out of). However, I hesitate because I know Trulia offers this type of message board and it becomes addicting and I have never really heard of it paying off. I guess you could get creative about utilizing this section... What about a post like “I’ve got a buyer looking for a residential property in “whatever neighborhood”, if you live here and would consider selling, let me know”. Hmmmm, that might spark some interest?!?
- Free iPhone App for Yelp: For those of you with an iPhone, I need not say more... There is a free app available to iPhone users that connects them with Yelp and all the reviews. This is a powerful application that is widely used by iPhone users.
How to Get Started on Yelp...
You can be on Yelp as a Reviewer or a Business (or both). For the purpose of this blog post, I want you to get your business up, so here is how you can proceed. No time to get this set-up? RealSupport can help. Ask us about our services. This is the type of project we handle for our clients all the time! If you are a techie like me and you want to proceed on your own, here is what you need to do:
- See if you’re business is listed on Yelp and Claim It.
- If your business is not listed on Yelp, Add it.
During both steps above, you’ll be asked to sign up as a Business Owner and you’ll also be asked to confirm your connection to the business. After your all set-up, you’ll want to be sure to populate your listing on Yelp with as much information as possible. They allow you to upload a photo/logo, add change your contact information, add content about your services, and links to your site. Fill it ALL in, the more content and information the better!!
You can also post sponsorship ads (like pay per clicks) if you want to use your advertising dollars on this popular site. You may get more bang for your buck here than a large site like Google.
They also provide a Yelp Badge, which is very cool. You can display this on your website, email signature, etc. I think this would be very powerful since it shows how many stars your Yelpers have rated you.
If you’re not up to the task, please contact RealSupport. We can help you set-up and manage your Yelp Business Owner page. In this day and age, it is so important to take control of your online reputation and take advantages of these well traveled sites. Call us, we can help!