Happy 2015, everyone!
As the first post for this year, I would like to tell you a bit about one of my new hobbies of 2014: Yelp.
Yelp is an online community which publishes crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses. A bit like a social network for customer reviews, with a dedicated site for most big cities worldwide.
I started using Yelp as a way to find things in Glasgow. Being en expat is not always easy: locating shops for very specific things you need once in a blue moon, or just findings a good place for something basic like dry cleaning can turn into a nightmare! I found Yelp so helpful, both in terms of finding places, but also assessing their quality through other people’s reviews, that I started posting reviews myself.
Always give back to the community
I am now quite active on the platform, and here is what I really like about it:
Quality, not quantity: there is no pressure to review loads – what you write matters more than how much you write. I was really surprised to be awarded the Elite badge (a form of internal recognition for being a good Yelper) after just a few reviews, but this is the spirit: you don’t need to write much, as long as it is good quality. As you can see on my homepage below, there is kind prompting to review but you can just ignore them or do it whenever you fancy.
Real sense of community: when you start yelping for a city, you get connected with other Yelpers from your town and start building connections. Being part of the Elite Squad also gives you access to special events where you meet tons of great folks. Yelp is actually the only social network that I use where online friends became real life ones, rather than the other way around.
Marketing research: I can’t help but seeing this from a marketing researcher point of view (I’m doomed!) and I learn a lot about consumer behaviour and social media marketing through Yelp. I guess I am just in default “netnography” mode all the time. Maybe one day I can write a paper about it…
Honesty: I like the fact that reviewers always try to be as objective and fair as possible. Although bad reviews inevitably happen, Yelp is not the place to go bashing about and complaining. People are committed to supporting local businesses. Everything you do on Yelp is for free, but the benefits you reap are well worth it (from shops discounts, to access to special events or insight into trending things in your city).
Amazing app: it’s all about being mobile, especially when it comes to reviewing and rating places you go to. I use Yelp on my phone most: I check into places, post pictures and tips on the go, and I can see instantly what others think of my updates – however, I usually write reviews on a computer.
I hope this post got you curious about Yelp and also hope it will be as helpful for you as it it for me if you ever need it.
Wishing everyone in Glasgow and around the world a fantastic 2015!
If you want to know more about Yelp and amazing Yelpers, follow the links…or find them in your own city.