Yelp, Inc. (NASDAQ: YELP) is an American multinational corporation that is headquartered in San Francisco, California. The company hosts and markets crowdsourced reviews about local businesses and online services. Yelp also helps small businesses respond to reviews and host social events for customers, and provides data about small businesses. Through reviews and searches, Yelp can help small business owners attract new business and generate repeat sales. The following are the top five ways Yelp adds value to small businesses.

1. Creates a Searchable Small Business Profile

Every business should create a profile on Yelp. This company profile page is similar to a Facebook page and allows a small business to tag its business category, list an address and phone number, include a link to its website or menu, connect to OpenTable and include any other important information about the business. This Yelp profile is as important as the company website and makes it easier for small businesses to be discovered online.

2. Builds a Large Photo Gallery

Yelp serves as a photo gallery for small businesses. In fact, the photos themselves are often the biggest selling point for users rather than the reviews or written information. Unfortunately, many small businesses only have a few poorly shot photos usually uploaded by visitors. Instead, small business owners should have a professional photographer shoot some engaging photos that show users what it is like to visit the business. It is also important to have a photo of the front of the business so customers know what they are looking for when they stop by.

3. Generates Customer Reviews

Customer reviews is what Yelp is best known for; positive reviews on the company's platform translate into social proof for a small business and are a big value-add. The more five-star ratings a business has, the more likely it is to attract new business. However, there are other ways to use these five-star customer reviews as valuable content. Businesses should take some of the best reviews and post them on their website and include great quotes in pamphlets and other marketing materials. In fact, even negative reviews provide opportunity for value. Businesses can use negative reviews to understand what needs to be changed to make an otherwise unknown customer happy.

4. Tracks Business Metrics in a Dashboard

Small business owners who list their businesses on Yelp get access to detailed metrics about business performance. They can use Yelp's metrics dashboard to get key insights about their companies' Yelp presence. For example, it is possible to track the amount of traffic the company's profile receives and how many times the profile showed up in Yelp searches. Additional user actions are tracked too, giving deeper insight into how customers are engaging with a business profile. Clicks to a website, mobile check-ins and photo uploads can all be tracked through Yelp.

5. Yelp's App for Business Owners

At the end of 2014, Yelp released an app called Yelp for Business Owners that is available on iOS and Android. Business owners can track Yelp account activity directly on their smartphones. Previously, there was no mobile-optimized version of Yelp account information, and business owners had to use a browser to access needed information.

In addition to providing access to account activity, the Yelp for Business Owners app lets users receive real-time push notifications of customer reviews. Reviews can be responded to directly in the app with a private message or a public comment. Additionally, profile information can be easily updated or changed, photos uploaded and promotions offered. Finally, if a business owner is running Yelp ads, reports can be accessed from within the app.

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