Work it!

The enclosed article from the San Francisco Chronicle reveals the danger of schilling on Yelp!  Yelp, in order to create the impression that their reviewers and reviews are legitimate (both a very real concern and a PR move) are removing entire accounts associated with what they deem ‘fake’ reviews:  reviews written to artificially inflate the public record and discourse on the business of record.

The comments section in this article is more interesting and pertinent than the actual article itself.  It provides insight into the public impression of Yelp and it’s users.

So what do you do as someone who owns or operates a retail business or is involved in “social media”?  Does one get better and more ‘sneaky’ and ‘authentic sounding’ when it comes to writing reviews for your friends or family, or your own business on Yelp or City Search?

The question misses the point entirely as I see it.  The way  to create a great reputation online is to be open, sincere and relevant.  Rather than “game” the system, “work” the system.  Engage users.  Write them back.  Respond.  Get involved in the discussions on Yelp as the business owner you are.  Use the tools available to you on Yelp.  Very few business owners do this for many good reasons, namely time and inclination.  Who has time to do this?   But at the end of the day, spending just 5 minutes a day not on your profile, but on your competitors profiles, on the “Talk” section of Yelp, in the “Events” section of Yelp, etc…the more time you spend on Yelp / online and get to know your customers there, the better you’ll do.