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More Yelp? Yes Please! Tips for generating real estate leads on Yelp

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I read Lani’s fine article last week about Yelp as a reputation management tool and I thought I would throw out some of my insight as a Yelp “sort of” insider.

A little background on Yelp.   A couple of years ago they were trying to build up a following in Nashville and approached me with an intriguing offer to write 50 reviews a week in return for a paycheck(something I hadn’t had in a while).  Alas, even though I’d never heard of them, I created my little profile and started cranking out some pithy useful tidbits at a hectic pace.  Now, because I know there has been some criticism of Yelp I want to clarify that I was NOT paid to write good or bad reviews, they did not specify what the reviews should say or who to review.  The parameters were they wanted local flavor and not big chains and they wanted engaging good tips and fun anecdotal reviews. It could be a park, a Dr., restaurant, hardware store, repairman, library anything.  In addition, they suggested I think long and hard before I made a terrible review and absolutely forbade me to write anything negative about a business competitor and/or to write anything related to my personal industry while I was on their payroll.    Sounds pretty ethical right?

After about a month or so and a few hundred reviews in, I began struggling to get 50 reviews in a week and let the gig go.   However, a funny thing started happening.  I would be out and about and often find my friends and acquaintances stopping me to say they had used one of my reviews to visit a restaurant or make a purchase.    Well doesn’t that beat all?  I had seriously taken this on as some side cash and fun because I’m a bit  opinionated but (insert light bulb in a bubble over my head here) I realized Yelp could be a HUGE business tool beyond just my own business page.

Yelp as a lead source:

I continue to use Yelp faithfully to this day and here is what I think makes it just as viable as Facebook and Twitter as a lead source:

1) SEO – Yelp has SEO we all opine for!!  For example if you google the term Ugly Mugs (my fave coffee shop in my neighborhood) they come in just under the actual shop’s site and sometimes they rank ahead of the purveyor google is indexing them for.  Anyway the text and review is mine on page one of Googles page is my review.   Woot – I  love being a neighborhood expert with some first page google ranking teeth in my game!

2)Now that I’m not under the constraint of writing about my industry, this year I intend to write reviews about my favorite vendors for a couple of reasons.  Here is one I did a while back for an appliance company that saved my fanny on a listing.   It was a tremendous opportunity to promote what I do on Yelp while providing useful information to the public.   In addition,  I love to send links of my reviews to the vendors I’ve written them for and let them know I appreciate them and want them to succeed.  It’s pretty darn easy to gain referrals from business associates that you not only send business to but also promote  in a very credible, useful way.

3)Yelp encourages Interaction not isolation.  They have a local public forum you can view from your profile page.  I’ve seen all kinds of great topics including ones about folks looking to relocate in to the area and wondering about neighborhoods.    Yelp Elite – If you write enough reviews and get enough of a following then Yelp invites you to be a part of their Elite Squad and that gets you in the door to all kind of fun events with other Yelp contributors.  Hmmmm… an exclusive audience with people in your community who freely spend time passing on tips about their favorite products and services, wouldn’t that be useful?

4)Yelp integrates with other social networks.  When you write a review you can opt to have it go to your Facebook wall and on your Twitter feed.   I frequently get lots of traction from reviews through both of those sources.  In addition,  Facebook has a similar application to FourSquare so you can download the app to your mobile phone and start checking in all over town.

5) Have you heard of Bling your Blog?  This is a fun little tool provided free of charge.  Yelp automatically maps your most recent reviews and allows the map widget to rest on your profile page.  If you click below your profile name or on the bottom of the map the term “bling your blog” you will be redirected to a page with that map where you can completely customize the color and size of it to match your blog.  It will then generate simple html code for you to cut and past on to your homepage or whatever page you wish it to reside on.   In addition WordPress has Yelp Bar which is a cool little plug in that will display Yelp reviews of your business on your site should you be lucky enough to have any.

Just scratching the surface

Now that I’ve discussed some cool ways to use Yelp (and I personally think I’m just scratching the surface), I want to make some suggestions on how you should not screw up Yelp.  Don’t post bogus, even if they are nice, reviews because over time the site will lose credibility.   Don’t post self promotional things about yourself on Yelp because in time the site will become cluttered with every business hack blindly doing it (a bit like Twitter) and the site will lose credibility.   Don’t get upset if you end up with a bad review or two, conversation is healthy.  Don’t slam businesses for sport or in competition with you because you and the site will lose credibility.

Do be authentic, engaging, yourself, funny, useful, and informative just like we have all been told on other social networking sites.   Yelp is a cool tool with tremendous potential that has managed to stay under the “spam the world with useless content for the sake of posting something” radar.   Go and use your Genius, report back to me on what cool new ways innovations you are creating with Yelp, but for god sakes please keep it real.

Anna Altic – Village Real Estate Services. I’ve called Nashville home for the last 15 years and have been practicing (practice being the key word here) real estate for just over 6 years. In the fall of 2007, I went to a local German Festival that had a home tour, including a LEED certified property, and I instantly became enamored with the idea of eco friendly living (ok, so I’d had a little beer and the dual flush toilet rocked my world). I have since devoted much of my time and energies in to studying and espousing the benefits of better building technology within our local residential market and my proudest accomplishment thus far has been successfully leading the initiative to get over 25 green features added to our MLS search fields.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Karen Goodman

    April 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks for the push to get started with Yelp. I had good intentions and signed up last year, but never did anything with it. Just fixed up my profile, and posted some reviews and local pictures. Now to keep it up!

    If anyone wants to connect on yelp, I'm:

    https://karenstl.yelp.com/

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Business Marketing

Gloves that translate sign language in real time

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.

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Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.

This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.

This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.

The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.

The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.

According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.

“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”

What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!

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Business Marketing

Stand out with video as part of your resume (but be careful)

(MARKETING) This new tool helps you stand out in the job market, as video now dominates – so it’s possible to use this to your advantage (with caution).

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job market video

In the midst of a pandemic, people are finding themselves thrust back into the job market sooner than expected due to mass company layoffs or underemployment as a freelancer. Fields are oversaturated and jobs are sparse so it can be hard to stand out in today’s job market.

Although standing out in the job market is hardly a new problem, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some new and creative solutions. One company, VCV.ME has designed a tool to help you get creative and stand out from your competition.

VCV.ME turns your traditional resume into a video à la Instagram stories.

The process is simple. You answer a few questions and upload a video of yourself then the tool will provide you with a sharable link.

VCV Founder and CEO, Arik Akverdian, believes that video is the future saying, “Video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021 according to Cisco, and according to eMarketer 94.1% of millennial internet users were streaming digital video in 2019. With growing demand for video social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and others, we’re bringing the short video format to the job market.”

There are some obvious limitations to using this tool in your job hunt.

First, not all employers will take videos as part of an application both for technical and legal reasons.

On the technical side, many automated tracking systems are not designed to filter that kind of file, so there may not even be an opportunity to showcase it. That’s not to say there aren’t some work-arounds. Many job applications will have a place for applicants to link to their portfolio or websites. An alternate option for this tool could be to place the video introduction on your website.

Another problem with the tool is how it exposes candidates and hiring managers to bias.

As more companies work to remove bias from their hiring practices and hire more diverse candidates, a video intro just won’t fly. Some companies have removed names and even alma maters from their applicants in order to make more unbiased hiring decisions. A video introduction would expose many characteristics that people have conscious and subconscious biases towards such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity.

Although VCV.ME’s intentions are to help candidates stand out in the job market, it’s worth questioning whether they would be standing out for the right reasons, so tread carefully.

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Business Marketing

Why should you take Facebook’s ‘Summer of Support’ courses

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Every company can use a little marketing advice, well Facebook has partnered with big companies to give you some free digital marketing courses.

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marketing courses

Our world has turned into a place of upheaval and unrest and we are continuously surrounded by more and more evidence of it. One thing that the majority of us are constantly seeing is announcements from companies. Some of those are about closing hours, but others are more helpful. As they all attempt to get used to this new world that COVID-19 has created we begin to see some different tactics. Some are only politically motivated, but others are more focused on helping out their communities.

Earlier this week Facebook announced that they will be putting on a six-week digital marketing education series. This series will be an extensive collection of videos with a full in depth set of courses that will cover a large amount of topics. The company has put together a cast of renowned entrepreneurs for the presenters as well.

The topics will be done in themed weeks starting on June 24th, and running through the month of July. They include categories such “The Changing World” & “Resilience”. Focusing primarily on the world that is here and now, with recommendations on how to adapt to it. With this world in a constant state of flux the push for adapting to change and staying in front of the tide is crucial for a small business.

The next two courses will be going forward with discussing “Reinvention” & “Re-Emergence”. Encouraging struggling companies to take a serious look at their potential for moving forward, or changing the things that they can to stay more on top of their client base. They also plan on attacking the confusing world that we will have when things get closer to normal.

The last two weeks are focused on community and customer care, which is actually their names as well: “Customers & Commerce” & “Community”. These will help develop a sense of how your business affects your community and the impact you have on it. Keeping that in mind you can then develop a plan for how you want your community to see you and shape things within it.

These courses are all set up for free and open to anyone. With a completely online set up with their new “Summer of Support” mini-site they are prepped to reach millions of people. They’ve organized this with a range of partners as well: Dell, PayPal, American Express, & Small Business Roundtable. A helping hand for people who wouldn’t currently be able to source things like this.

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