Yelping for Business

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yelpI am pretty blown away by just how many new businesses I have discovered and have not been referred to by friends. While some people choose to lean on the opinion of their closest buddies, I have started to trust in yelp reviews more and more.

This can be unfortunate for some businesses because anyone with too much time on their hands can jump online and write something nasty just for kicks. What I have found though is that a good portion of my friends rely heavily on customer reviews and their main research tool is yelp. I used to not be as in to yelp as I am now. Having moved back to Los Angeles from New York, the site has served to be a great guide in reacquainting me with the good and the bad that Los Angeles has to offer.

The last time I ventured out to get my hair done on my own without my trusty social media app, I wound up with a bad and overly bleached hair color job that made me look like the X-Men character Rogue. The bleach blonde was all over. It wasn’t a good look. I definitely don’t do blonde well.

I truly wanted to find a salon and get my hair done correctly, but once again I had no idea where to go. I moved back to LA, returning after being gone from the City of Angels for almost 4 years. When you are gone that long, change is expected. I could text some of my girlfriends or post a Facebook shout out and wait to see if anyone responds to my request to find a decent hairstylist. Then, what if I put myself out there and no one responds? I might end up feeling and looking like a big tool. To avoid potential public humiliation, I chose the absolute best course of action that one should always do when in doubt…yelp it!

Out of all the salons in the South Bay area, I was impressed by how many reviews one particular salon had. Although it ranked 4.5 stars and not 5 stars, they had the most reviews, a whopping 234 and now 235 after I left one! Ultra Lux Salon & Lounge is a cute Redondo Beach salon, run by a group of tattooed and talented kick-ass women. They have definitely have tapped into the power behind yelp reviews to boost business. Every customer gets a chance to earn a free deep conditioning treatment, just by walking in to the salon and checking in via Facebook, and customers are encouraged to leave honest and positive yelp reviews.

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Ultra Lux Salon & Lounge also knows how to get their customers relaxed and coming back for more. Yes, this salon offers free alcohol while you get your haircut, colored, and etc. I mean free wine, beer, and other such cocktails. Forget the coffee beverage, too boring and ordinary. What do people want? They want free and they want to unwind. This salon really caters to the need of their customers, what a great business model- free booze while you’re getting your hair done. Unless you’re anti-alcohol, conservative, or the overtly religious type- the average individual today just wants to kick their feet back and pop open a cold one.

social-media-yelp-reviewIf you are a new business owner whether it is small or large, do not underestimate the power of yelp reviews. As I stated in a previous post, social media can be a powerful marketing tool. The yellow pages era is practically extinct and businesses still boycotting social media from their marketing budget need to get with the program. Businesses need to understand something that Facebook figured out a long time ago: Humans need ego stroking. We all work best with a positive reinforcement, and most respond well to a reward system.

Hell, virtual stickers and video game-like levels where you don’t even win anything tangible, gets people coming back to “check in” on some social media site. Offer people a free service to bring them in the store, cater to their needs, and gaining 5-star  yelp reviews will not be difficult to achieve. You will have your schedule so booked, you can’t stop people from coming through your doors wanting to spend money. People love free, discounts, and little perks that help them save money while getting a service done. Credit cards get this; point systems are great for those racking up the frequent flier miles.

The beauty of the Internet is that you can pimp out yourself and your business. So, why not give people what they want a FREE something and a little encouragement to leave positive yelp reviews. Discounts work just as well and now you can reach way more people with the help of social media spreading the word.

 

 

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