Why You Shouldn't Ask for Reviews on Yelp

Although it may seem counterintuitive, Yelp actually discourages business owners from asking for reviews. We want the content that appears on our site to be as useful as possible and we feel that reviews should occur organically and that soliciting reviews is a practice that tends to create an unintentional bias. But does this mean that business owners should shy away from letting consumers know about their presence on Yelp?

There is an important distinction between actively asking for reviews and letting consumers know your business is also on social media platforms like Yelp. For example, you may want to think twice before telling every customer to “review me on Yelp” because it can cause people to feel as if they’re being used as a promotional vehicle, which may leave some with a negative impression of your business. Also, those reviews might wind up getting filtered.

A subtler way to drive awareness about your Yelp presence is mentioning you’re on Yelp and stopping short of asking for a review. With that in mind, here are a few simple strategies designed to increase Yelper engagement without being overly solicitous:

Post a check-in offer. When mobile Yelpers check-in, they can let their friends on Yelp see what business they’re patronizing. Yelp users also have the option of sharing their check-ins on Facebook and Twitter. This means one check-in can simultaneously alert the user's fellow Yelpers, followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook. A check-in offer is a great way to encourage your current customers to use this feature more often. Once someone checks in at your business we’ll prompt them to write a review when they login.

Use Yelp signage. You can post a “Find us on Yelp” image on your website and/or print it out for your front counter or window. Images are available via our Flickr page.

Update your email auto signature. Include a link to your Yelp business listing in your email signature with the words “Check us out on Yelp.”

Learn from your peers. We recently caught up with biz owners who have organically built a great reputation on Yelp. Click here to watch, and learn from their example.

Danny Wurst is the community manager and marketing director for Yelp Chicago. In addition to leading the local community of Yelp reviewers both online and off, he also regularly interacts with business owners to answer questions and provide insight on online services like Yelp. When he's not working (or sometimes when he is), he's enjoying his favorite meal: a burger and beer.

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