Handling Social Media

Carl owns a small business, and he's discovering problems with social media reviews. Carl feels as though the reviews are being filtered in a certain way that paints his business in a negative light.

QUESTION: Carl in Washington owns a small business, and he’s discovering problems with social media reviews. Carl feels as though the reviews are being filtered in a certain way that paints his business in a negative light. Dave tells Carl how he’d handle this problem.

ANSWER: Yelp is starting to lose credibility because people are using it improperly. Competitors are leaving bad reviews, and people who are crazier than crud are leaving reviews. I’ve gotten to where I don’t pay any attention to Yelp reviews.

I don’t have a solution except to make them irrelevant with your other marketing. You are in the restaurant business, and that’s the one that gets hammered the most. As a consumer, I use Yelp to locate restaurants because I travel a lot, but I very seldom go with the review on Yelp. But I do click on the website, which Yelp has listed. I’ll visit the website and look at photos and the menu, the hours, the location and the exterior feel to see if this looks like a quality place.

You can do a 360-degree tour of your restaurant, you can have lots of pictures showing a good, classy place, and you can message your position in the marketplace as high-end, medium-end, fast food or whatever you are. You take over the marketing on your website. Yelp is losing credibility.

I didn’t know about the whole protection racket thing, where if you don’t advertise with them, they will filter through all the bad reviews and leave the good ones off. But I just observed that the reviews on my favorite restaurants were not accurate.

I think the best thing to do is overrun them with the quality of your online presence. Spend whatever money Yelp wanted on beating them. Then don’t worry about it. Put a little note on your website that says your Yelp reviews are false and tell the customer to check your place out for themselves.

That’s the problem with Yelp, and I’ve heard that in the restaurant business more than any other with people trying to cut each other’s throats with negative reviews that aren’t right. I’ve actually read a couple of websites where they say to ignore the negative reviews about them.

I don’t give a rip about my Better Business Bureau reviews or my Yelp reviews because I get to my own consumer directly with the power of our marketing. They can all bite my ankle. I don’t give a rip about them.

Review your website and the message that it gives the visitor. The message needs to be so clear that you have been there for a while and, before Yelp, your reviews were excellent, so customers can check you out for themselves. Mess with them and get all up in their business. In 24 or 36 months, you’re going to see some of that change.

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