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3 Ways to Successfully Engage With Your Self-Storage Business Yelp Profile

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By Emily Washcovick

Online review sites are a great opportunity for self-storage operators to gather feedback and information from customers. This isn't just a place for consumers to voice their opinions about local businesses; rather, most people are using these sites as a reference point. A 2015 study by online-marketing firm BrightLocal found 92 percent of consumers read online reviews to determine if a business is any good. More important, nearly 80 percent of the reviews written on Yelp are positive (three stars or higher). There are more five-star reviews on Yelp than all the one-, two- and three-star reviews combined.

As a self-storage operator, you should be tracking online reviews to spot trends on what’s going well in your business and what needs improvement. You should also be engaging with these sites and using the free tools to attract more customers. Here are three tips to successfully engage with your Yelp profile and use consumer feedback to your advantage.

Respond to Reviews

Consumers see a response to a negative review as the business valuing the customer’s experience and showing a desire to engage with them on a personal level. On Yelp, you can respond to reviews publicly or privately through Yelp for Business Owners. Remember, when responding to reviews, it’s important to remain professional, thank the reviewer for his feedback, and share any updates that have been made to your business as a result. Let’s break it down further.

When you get a positive review, respond! Sending a short, direct message is a fast and effective way to let happy customers know you appreciate their feedback and business. These customers took time out of their day to give you positive input online. Every so often, respond to those stellar five-star reviews publicly so future consumers know you care.

When you get a negative review, take it as an opportunity to grow. When it comes to a negative review, it’s easy to get upset, but successful business owners remain calm, cool and collected. If you need to give yourself 24 hours to cool off, feel free! Then it’s time to respond and outline a plan to fix the situation. Follow these two steps:

1. Respond privately to the reviewer. Dive in and get more information about what happened. Thank him for reaching out to you, and give him a way to communicate with you directly to get things resolved, business to consumer.

2. Post a public response while you wait to hear back from the customer directly. For the most part, this can be a generic message. Thank the reviewer for his feedback, outline the steps you’ve taken to resolve the issue, and urge him to contact you to talk further about what happened. This shows you value consumer feedback and want your customer experience to be exceptional. This public response is to showcase your business practices to all your future customers. It’s not about trying to win that reviewer over.

Download the Mobile App

You can manage your entire Yelp presence from the palm of your hand with the Yelp for Business Owners App. Responding to reviews, uploading photos and tracking your activity is all possible once you download the app in the iTunes or Google Play store. Remember, it’s blue not red (which is the Yelp for Consumers app).

The app will keep you logged in for easier access and will even allow you to set up push notifications so you don’t have to check for new reviews. Instead, you’ll just receive an alert.

Spread the Word

You can log into Yelp for Business Owners and share your great reviews on other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter or via e-mail. Some businesses get creative with their feedback. They’ll print the reviews, frame them and display them around their office. Beyond just telling your customers they can find your business on Yelp, you can also provide links to your listing in your e-mail signature or on your website.

Also take advantage of free resources, like “Find Us On Yelp” stickers. You can peruse stickers, signage and hyperlinks at yelp.com/brand. Great reviews are something to be proud of, so show them off!

Setting up a Yelp “Check-in Offer” can also help grow your natural review content. This helps you look more appealing to mobile customers. When they see a promotion (e.g., a free keychain for their storage-unit key), they’re given one more incentive to consider your facility over another. Additionally, whenever someone checks into a business, he’s prompted to write a review for that business the next time he uses Yelp.

If you’re not engaging with your current and future customers on Yelp, now’s the time to act. Take this opportunity to gather feedback and identify trends, and use the site’s free tools to better participate with your audience.

Emily Washcovick is a manager of local business outreach for Yelp. She hosts informational sessions across North America, educating business owners on best practices for navigating the world of online reviews and working with local companies interested in leveraging Yelp to grow their business. She also hosts a series of webinars on subjects relevant to business owners and regularly contributes content to Yelp's "Blog for Business Owners." For more information, visit biz.yelp.com.

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