Businesses have a lot of work to do. Although Yelp launched in Australia late last year, Apple's announcement that it would use its own maps program and source data from Yelp means more SMEs need to quickly get up to speed with the online reviews service.
This is a huge change. Apple has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates. Instead of using Google Maps, now people are going to use Apple Maps, which sources data from Yelp. That means there'll be reviews and data on your business showing up when people use the new Maps app.
Yelp Australia community manager Tresna Lee told SmartCompany this morning that businesses need to start ticking off a checklist for getting their page online.
"The first thing is you need to unlock your business page, then make sure the data is correct, so the phone number, and the category especially," she told SmartCompany.
"Adding photos is really, really useful. The more photos the better, and then also telling a little bit about the history and the business."
"It doesn't take all that long. Set aside half an hour, look at the information, you can do it over a number of days. But if you have all the information available, you can go in and pop it in to make sure it looks really neat."
We know SMEs are time poor, so here's a quick guide to getting you started on Yelp. As soon as Apple Maps hits later this year, you'll be glad you made the time to get it right now.
This is the home screen of Yelp. You can search for more businesses, find locations by category, and search through the whole site here.
But you're not a regular user, you're a business customer. So you're going to need to access some of the site's support for business listings.
If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you'll see some text at the very bottom giving you links to pages like "About Yelp" and "Yelp Blog".
In the second column, under "Help", you'll see the option to choose "Business Support". Click on that, and you'll be taken to this page:
This is where you can access all the information you need to edit your listing. But first, you need to select "Log in to your account".
After that, it's going to ask you to "Create your free account now". On the right-hand side, if you're already a member, it'll ask you to log in. You're not a member, so just ignore that for now.
You'll be taken to this page:
The first thing you'll need to do is actually find your business. Chances are that it's already going to be on here, much like the way your business was listed on Google Maps without you having to do anything.
If it's not found, you can create a listing, but chances are it'll be here. Then, you need to select it, input your information, and then unlock your business account.
Once you've unlocked your account, you're going to have access to a lot more information, including the ability to edit your profile, add more photos, and track how many user views are actually coming to your page. It's a good way to track your return on investment.
When you have all your login details sorted out, you need to go to a business page:
You'll see some basic information here, but you'll want to update it. Put in some new photos to show off the best of your location, update the description to make sure it's as detailed as possible – this will help with Google rankings as well – and ensure enough detail is there for prospective visitors.
That includes price details and opening hours as well. The more information you give a customer, the more likely they are to check you out.
You'll also want to put some more personal information in there about the business. Talk about the owner, the history, and the personal connection to the location. Customers will respond to that type of effort. That's the key here – effort.
Put some time and effort into making your page look good, and your customers will reward you for it. This isn't an afterthought, think of it as just another page on your main website.
Then, you're going to want to check out the reviews left under your business description:
You'll want to read every single review, but more than that, you'll actually want to respond to them as well. If you find there's a really bad review under your description, don't get angry, just respond. If not for that person, but for the people reading the review later on. They'll see you responded and will have a more favourable opinion of you.
There's plenty more you can do with Yelp, so look around and figure out how you can customise it for your business. Now that it's a huge part of the Apple infrastructure, you really can't afford to let it stay idle or too long.