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Yelp for Realtors – with 50 million monthly users, do you know if you are being reviewed?

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Yelp’s tremendous web growth

Yelp has seen its ups and downs, its lag in adoption and even lawsuits, but the public doesn’t seem to know about it and they keep on using the review site. Mostly known for restaurant reviews, Yelp has made strides to expand their offering to include coupons to compete with Groupon and we imagine they’ll eventually offer a restaurant reservations competitor to OpenSeat.

Recently, Yelp has hit some important milestones as it has officially surpassed 17 million reviews but more importantly is attracting 50 million users per month. Everyone uses Yelp, it is the Google of review sites- you can’t seem to not use it, even if you want. Even my father uses it (and leaves lengthy hilarious reviews like this one, complete with cuss words).

Tech blogger Jason Kincaide, “CEO Jeremy Stoppelman says that the service is seeing a faster rate of growth for both contributions (reviews) and users than it has historically— in Q1, users wrote 2 million reviews, while most quarters average 1 million.”

Yelp and real estate

Yelp use is on the rise and its growth is expanding. We believe much of their growth is with their mobile users as their app is pretty handy when on the road (we use it when traveling quite a bit).

But all that growth doesn’t mean their value proposition is universally understood. Recently, when talking with an agent friend of mine, Yelp came up and she insisted that it was restaurants only. I had to show her that it was literally a review site for everything with a mailing address. We searched for her name and nothing came up, but her brokerage did and she was braced for the worst but it was mostly positive.

Some Realtors take Yelp seriously

Some Realtors have taken Yelp seriously and behaved like a business owner by adding their logo, some of their headshots or pictures of them in action, outlining their service area on the map and actually soliciting reviews. The great thing about Yelp is that reviewers are very accountable as all of their reviews are public under their profile and the language is much more natural than some Realtor review sites where you see the same testimonial copied and pasted (that was clearly written by the agent).

Sean McCormack in Austin, TX is a really great example of a Realtor reviewed on Yelp that takes the time to make sure it is an inviting place for consumers when they find him. Out of kindness, we won’t highlight a bad example, you’ll find that on your own.

So if you aren’t aware of Yelp, hop on, do a search for your brokerage and your name and see if anything pops up. Claim your name or team as your business through Yelp and spice up your Yelp page. It’s easier to ask a consumer for a review where they already naturally congregate than to ask them to put their name on an arbitrary website they’ve never heard of, so maybe it’s time the real estate world paid better attention to Yelp?

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. LesleyLambert

    April 6, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Good reminder, I keep “meaning” to spend time at Yelp.

  2. Genevieve

    April 6, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Our brokerage is actually top rated on Yelp! in the DC Metro area with the most 5 star reviews… Uhm… hello… we LOVE it! We remind our happy clients to send their Yelp! lovin’ to the page and they enjoy doing it just as much as we enjoy spreading the word! It is exciting when you get to read the shining reviews about yourself and nerve-racking to think that someone you may have ticked off is possibly going to bring their pack-o-pooches to your front porch (throat clearing- thank goodness we aren’t in Texas any more, LANI). Thanks for reminding people to make Yelp! the valuable resource that it is.

  3. Anna Altic

    April 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I use Yelp Extensively. I have actually the yelp Elite badge and from time to time get invited to fun networking events around town. This year, I have started recommending a number of my vendors on there that I particularly like and trust. I then send them a link to my review and remind them that favorable reviews and referrals are very important to me. Their SEO is amazing as well so your recommendation of a particular vendor may put you front and center to someone contemplating the purchase and or sale of a home. I also interact with folks on the discussion forum in which Real Estate does come up from time to time. I have used the bling my blog widget with a map feature and love the listing by category feature as well. The cool thing about Yelp to me is that it’s a valid Social Networking tool that encourages you to be an expert about your community. Your reviews and reputation are certainly an important part of Yelp but it can be so much more!

  4. sfvrealestate

    April 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Lani, I posted this yesterday on Activerain under my real name, Judy Graff:
    Fellow Realtors, have you been told to encourage your clients to write a review for you on Yelp? I have, and I have. Three clients have written great reviews for me. But if your clients do this for you, make sure you copy and paste those reviews someplace else, because they may disappear soon.

    I just had a long conversation with a sales person from Yelp. He pitched me on one of Yelp’s premium packages. (I don’t have the money this year.) In the course of the conversation, he told me that if a reviewer isn’t a regular reviewer on Yelp, the Yelp algorthym usually deletes their review. He says this is to keep people from going on just once to review something at the request of the business. He noticed that two of my reviews were from non-regular Yelp posters, and told me they’d probably be going away soon. Even if you buy a Yelp premium advertising package, the algorthym will delete reviews from non-regulars!

    I still believe in Yelp. However, I’m going to make sure my reviews are posted elsewhere as well as there!

  5. Sara Bonert

    April 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Yelp is a wonderful place to build an online reputation. One word of caution I’ve heard from a handful of Realtors now… They sent out a mass email to their database asking for reviews, and of course got a bunch immediately as a result. Because of the large number of reviews to one profile in one day, Yelp saw this as spam and pulled their whole profile down and none of the reviews got posted. So if you proactively request reviews, piecemeal your requests out.

  6. Bobby Carroll

    April 8, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Great reminder Lani! People are reviewing agents more and more. I say get on Yelp and be aware what is being said. It’s called reputation management.

    Here is one awesome idea I heard @NashvilleBrian share at #RETSO 4.0 last week.

    1. Write a genuine review for a local business. My mom always said if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Following my mom’s advice, write a genuine, heartfelt review for a local business. Here’s where it gets cool!

    2. Print the review (with your profile info/image on it for all to see)

    3. Frame the review

    4. Deliver the review to the business owner

    5. Then watch as the business owner places your framed review for all to see right by the place where there will be the most traffic… at the cash register!

    6. Then go write a business spotlight post (you do have a local business spotlight category on your blog…. right?) and tell why you love that business and why you are stark raving fan of theirs!

    7. Then “Like” their FB business page and be sure to “Like” it from your business page. And don’t forget to go back and show them the post you wrote on your blog about their business! You’ll make new friends for life and at least a few more readers will show up on your blog.

    Items #6 and 7 I threw in there for good measure. 😉 Thanks Brian Copeland for sharing this great idea at #RETSO!

    • Lani Rosales

      April 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Good reminder of the round robin effect. We wrote some time ago about a pizza maker that was getting so many bad Yelp reviews that they made a joke of it, put the bad reviews on t-shirts in huge font for their employees to read and wouldn’t you know it, their foot traffic and loyalty increased.

      It’s not just about the good reviews, it’s the bad reviews that are an even bigger opportunity, a bigger chance to really win loyalty.

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Social Media

This non-judgmental app can help you switch to a plant-based diet

(SOCIAL MEDIA) There are many reasons people choose plant-based diets. If you’re looking to try it out, this app helps you stay on track.

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No Meat Today, a judgement-free plant-based diet tracking app.

The interest in plant-based proteins continues to grow. Healthline suggests that Americans are shifting toward plant-based meat substitutes because of shortages in the grocery store due to the pandemic, but there are many reasons to make the switch.

Plant-based proteins are considered more sustainable than traditional meat. Nutritionally, plant-based meat alternatives are often healthier. Regardless of the reason, if you’re one of the many Americans who are changing your diet, there’s a new app that can help you stay on track without making you feel judged if or when you do eat meat.

Your companion to eating less meat

No Meat Today is an app available in the App Store. You can get on a waitlist in Google Play. It’s a fun app that asks you, “Did you eat meat today?” You can even define what meat means to you, red meat, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs and/or dairy. As you eat less meat, your “planet” attracts cows. The design is simple, “don’t eat meat, get a cow.” If you eat too much meat, your cows go away. There’s no judgement if you lose a cow.

The creator, Arnaud Joubay says, “I’m not here to tell anyone what they should do, only to offer a friendly app to those who want to do the same.” It’s recommended to look back at your history to decide whether you want to eat meat or not.

Reviews

The app was just released earlier this year. Most of its features are free, but you can pay $4.99 for all the features for one year. There have been some very cute cows released for special days. In the App Store, reviews are positive, but the caveat is that the creator asks you to contact him first if you if your review isn’t 5-stars. It’s a cute app that can motivate you to eat less meat.

Here’s the link to the product page.

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Twitter insights to engage more customers this holiday season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter wants to help you prep your marketing for the first COVID holiday season by sharing findings on what customers care about.

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Man on laptop open to Twitter, considering his holiday shopping with Christmas tree behind him.

The year 2020 has been a year like no other. None of us expected to be confined to the inside of our homes, but here we are. And now, more than ever, the holiday season is something most of us are looking forward to, even if we have to spend it apart. And social media like Twitter will be a key part of that.

So, to get a sense of what consumers expect this holiday season, Twitter UK has shared some insights to help brands better strategize on their holiday campaigns. Twitter’s official partner, Brandwatch, analyzed tweets from March to September to find out “people’s opinions and biggest concerns.” Here are Twitter’s findings.

Compared to previous years, people have already started asking for and have begun giving gift ideas and recommendations to each other. According to the data, mentions of Christmas started to increase in March. Between March 1 and September 30, there was a 10% increase in mentions compared to last year. So, brands should definitely start kicking off their marketing campaigns sooner than later.

The pandemic has undoubtedly influenced how we spend our money and has altered how we are able to have family time. According to the Brandwatch Twitter data, 59k people are discussing how family gatherings will be impacted by it. So, brands should be mindful of this, and incorporate messaging that reaches out to everyone. Messaging that makes family and friends feel connected, even if they are spending the holidays alone.

Another thing to consider is combining your efforts with local businesses. Making purchases from small and independent businesses is something that has been heavily highlighted since the beginning of the pandemic. With Christmas drawing near, this couldn’t be more important in people’s minds. Twitter has seen a substantial jump in people saying they will be holiday shopping locally. By partnering with a local business, both small and large companies can benefit from sales.

Also, health and safety were and still are at the top of everyone’s minds. A lot of people on Twitter are saying they will do all their shopping early. This will help them avoid the large crowds of last-minute shoppers.

As a result, companies should start preparing themselves to receive early shoppers. Part of preparing is making sure all health and safety measures are in place. Brands should follow all CDC guidelines and make sure they continue to be transparent with customers. Sending out a simple safety message through social media or email will go a long way.

These insights from Twitter are specific to the UK, but should still be considered. No one knew we’d still be where we are now. However, the holiday season is still something people are excited about. And, brands can take these insights to help maximize sales.

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10 Snapchat Ad tips to increase engagement for holiday shopping season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As holiday shopping draws near, Snapchat offers helpful tips to help business owners make use of their advertising and branding tools.

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Woman holding phone open to Snapchat chat window, casually dressed with journal and coffee nearby.

The holidays are basically here, and Snapchat wants to make sure you get the most out of your Snap promotions. The company recently released its “Snapchat Ads Best Practices: 10 Tips to Help Increase Ad Engagement” post. With these pointers and advertising best practices, Snap hopes to help companies “build visually appealing ads that drive quality engagement and high return on investment for your business.”

So, let’s get into the tips!

1. Choose the right ad format for your goals
With a lot of advertising options, Snap says you need to select the right ad type that will better align with and help you meet your business goals.

2. Showcase your product front and center in your ad creative
Displaying a fullscreen video or image of your product will encourage a viewer to want to engage more. As a result, it is good to include a ‘hero’ message at the beginning that has all relevant information, such as offers and specials.

For eCommerce purposes, products should be featured “front and center to drive purchase intent.” For apps and games, include the app’s UI, features, and benefits in the ad. Meanwhile, local businesses should highlight the services or products their business specializes in.

And, always remember to make sure your creative meets Snapchat’s ad specs so your ad can be displayed flawlessly.

3. Make your ads feel native to Snapchat
No one likes intrusive ads that scream at your face telling you to buy a certain product or service. To prevent this from happening, Snap says your ads should “mirror the bite-sized and linear storytelling of Snaps” already on the platform. These non-intrusive ads should be kept short at around 5-6 seconds. And, Snap says these more “conversational ads” get viewed more fully than polished ads do.

4. Drive urgency with relevant messaging
Don’t overcomplicate the message. This will just get people to swipe away. Instead, make sure relevant information is at the beginning and is easy to understand. Placing your messaging within the first 2 seconds is preferable.

5. Design for sound on
Despite what you might think, silence isn’t better. Snap says that about 64% of Snapchat ads have the sound turned on. And, an effective way of including sound in your creative is by using a customer testimonial. Spoken testimonials help viewers understand and better relate to the brand or product.

6. Link your ads properly
Make sure users are being directed to where you want them to go. You don’t want them clicking on a broken link. Or worse, someone else’s content. The right link is crucial for impressions and conversions. Here are Snap’s recommended “attachment types depending on advertiser goal.”

  • Drive online sales by using Web View Attachments. These pages instantly load for the user and are available in Snap Ads, Story Ads, and Lenses.
  • Drive app installs by using App Install Attachments. Snapchatters will be able to swipe and download your app. Using ‘Install Now’ or ‘Download’ as a CTA, Snap says you will have strong conversion rates.
  • Drive app engagement/app visits by using Deep Links. These links will bring existing users back to your app. At the same time, any new users will be directed to the app store to install the app. Deep Links can be added to Single Image or Video ads, Story Ads, and Lenses.

7. Test ad creative and try new ad formats
Testing something is a pretty good idea when it comes to anything. Snap emphasizes this, and says testing can give you “insight into what content resonates most with your target audience.” They recommended testing your ad creative for about 2-4 weeks using different formats. After you’ve gathered enough information, you can determine the winning format that is best for you.

8. Use goal-based bidding to bid towards your desired action

  • Goal-based bidding “allows you to optimize towards a specific action that a Snapchatter is most likely to take, such as installing your app, watching a video, or completing a purchase.”
  • Snap has several bidding strategies, and it recommends using Target Cost Bidding.

9. Broaden your targeting
After you’ve been running your ads for at least a couple of weeks, Snap says to consider broadening your target audience. Snapchat has several different targeting options. Some of the categories you can expand on are geo, gender, age ranges, and languages. Expanding your audience will allow you to get more impressions.

10. Understand your audience reach to optimize
Finally, make use of Snap’s Audience Insights. These insights provide Snapchat with data like demographics, interests, locations, and devices overview. By knowing this information, you can better understand your audience and create content that is tailored to them. Content that will ultimately maximize your advertising efforts.

Overall, Snapchat understands that “mobile advertising is a key component to any digital marketing strategy.” By offering us these tips, they are reminding us of some things we already know, and telling us how they can help us achieve our advertising goals.

With the holidays around the corner, Snapchat says they can help you reach a large and engaged audience for just $5 a day with their offerings. So, what do you think of Snapchat’s tips?

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