How Yelp Can Build Brand Reputation

August 5, 2019

By Chuck Kapelke

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For many marketers, managing a company's online presence includes monitoring and responding to reviews on Yelp, one of the most active review sites on the internet. "Yelpers" have written well north of 177 million reviews since the site's founding in 2004. The following is a Q&A with Stephanie Rice, enterprise sales marketing manager at Yelp, who explains how marketers can best use the review platform.


Q. What role can a business' marketing team play in supporting or maintaining a strong reputation on Yelp or other review platforms?

Marketing teams can put a clear plan in place around responding to reviews, whether that is at the corporate headquarters or store level. They can also proactively share information with franchisees and store managers about how to optimize a Yelp page for success and drive more traffic.


Q. What advice would you give to companies about how to use Yelp to understand and manage their reputations?

Listen to your feedback and look at your reviews as an opportunity to constantly improve operations and the guest experience. In addition, you should always respond to your reviews, whether positive or negative. That being said, for national chains, we don't typically see a strong correlation between Yelp rating and conversion to a user taking a next action (e.g., mobile call, mapped direction, etc.) for national chains. The reason may be that consumers already have an idea of what the guest experience is like at a chain brand, so they are less swayed by star rating.


Q. What kind of tools and data can Yelp provide to companies to help them manage their rankings and reputations?

While there is no way for a business to change their organic rating on Yelp, we do provide large brands with the educational tools and data to improve their business operations. One way Yelp does this is by offering sentiment analysis, which helps companies understand what keywords or themes are trending in their reviews. This insight can help brands make better informed decisions about what needs to be improved and where they should be investing resources.


Q. If a business has multiple locations, do you recommend that the management of a Yelp profile is handled at the store level, or more centrally?

We've seen success with both approaches. We refer to the store level tactic as decentralized review management and the corporate tactic as centralized review management. In the centralized model, corporate teams can manage Yelp reviews using Yelp's aggregate review dashboard, which allows you to sort and respond to reviews across all locations by rating, date, or awaiting reply. In the decentralized model, reviews are managed at the local level by regional or store managers. Yelp's aggregate review dashboard includes hierarchical access levels so individuals only have access to respond on behalf of the locations they manage. Large brands can manage reviews effectively using either model, but we suggest you pick one and stick with it.


To learn about the vital role purpose plays in building the reputation of a brand or business, visit the ANA Center for Brand Purpose.

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