That is, do you have a business presence on the consumer review website Yelp, and actively manage it to help market your practice? If not, you may not only be failing to take advantage of an invaluable social reputation resource, you may actually be harming your brand.
First off, to introduce you to Yelp in case you aren’t aware. Launched in 2004, Yelp is the most popular web resource for consumers who want to get review, recommendations and information about local businesses. It’s now grown to 89 million monthly users on phones and mobile devices, and another 75 million on computers. So why is Yelp so important? All of those people combined have generated 95 million reviews of companies, brands, and services on the site to date!
In addition to company information like your address, website link, hours of operation, and other nuts and bolts, Yelp is essentially a place where your customers will review and rate you.
These days, social reputation is increasingly important for businesses that need to drive consumer traffic (which is just about every business!). So that restaurant down the street that got a slew of bad Yelp and social media reviews? It went out of business within six months, while that other one that impressed enough patrons who wrote glowing reviews and rated it well is thriving – and making big dollars. The same goes for your chiropractic practice.
Think about the first point where a potential patient starts their search for your services. Maybe they injured their back at work or are suffering from whiplash after an auto accident, or any other common reasons people seek chiropractic. Statistics show that they will start their search for a good local chiropractor by doing three things:
- Asking friends, coworkers, and family
- Going to Yelp and searching to see recommendations and check feedback
The reality is that #2 on that list will also usually bring up a business’s Yelp listing, too. So if the chiropractor down the street has a polished Yelp page, great reviews, and a strong social media presence – and/or you don’t – chances are the potential client will skip right over you and go give their money to someone else.
Just how impactful can Yelp be to your practice’s bottom line?
In fact, according to the results of a Harvard Business School Study, a one-star increase (Yelp rates from one to five stars) in Yelp ratings translated into a revenue increase between five to nine percent!
Confirming these findings, a study by two Berkeley economists concluded that even an additional half-star rating on Yelp can boost peak business by up to 19 percent!
That’s pretty darn significant – especially for a social media platform that is completely free to use (though they do have upgraded paid services, you won’t need those at first.)
But isn’t Yelp primarily for restaurants?
Not at all, although that’s a common misconception because so many people do trust Yelp for restaurant reviews. But in fact, 25% of Yelp business profiles are for restaurants, cafes, and bars, etc. – leaving of its base 75% of other businesses.
If you do a Yelp search for chiropractors in your area and not many come up that’s even better for you, as you’ll have less online competition to rise above on your way to a strong, active Yelp presence that generates a lot of new business. But the health category does constitute 6 percent of all Yelp reviews (shopping is the first at 22 percent and restaurants are second at 19 percent.)
But business owners need to take their Yelp strategy seriously (though I promise it won’t take much time or energy to manage at all once it’s up and running) because negative reviews or failing to set up your Yelp page correctly can actually hurt your business.
For instance Yelp has two designations of businesses: Recommended (71 percent) and non-Recommended (22 percent), and there is definitely a right way to solicit positive reviews from your existing patients (44 percent of Yelp reviews are 5-star)…and an even more subtle art to handling the occasional negative review so it won’t be detrimental to your online reputation or slow traffic.
But don’t worry at all; in part two and three of this series of blogs we’ll walk you through every step of setting up your chiropractic practice’s Yelp page, making sure you are a recommended business with a great foundation of positive reviews, and know just how to most efficiently market your Yelp rating and draw in even more positive impressions.
But until then, this is your homework:
Go to Yelp.com and search for chiropractors in your area and see if your practice comes up.
If it does, click on it and carefully read what is written, and clip and paste the information into a separate Word document or take a screen shot for future reference.
Likewise, check out your competitors that pop up when you do your search and click on a few of their listings, taking note of what information they share and what people are saying in their reviews.
We’ll use all of this information next time to ensure you have the best Yelp listing for chiropractic in your area!