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Screaming for Yelp!

Time for an idea. When I was out in Vegas, I thought about how we’ve changed how we find places to go eat and activities to do on vacation. We used to just drive up and down the street and look for a place that looked good. Sure, we still do this every now and then, but for the technologically inclined, we can use services like Yelp! to educate ourselves on what’s out there and what’s good or not. So part of me wants to think that most restaurants know about this, but the other part of me knows that they don’t.

store front

What I want to know is why don’t more restaurants encourage their patrons to go online and review their restaurant? It could be as simple as mentioning it when the waiter takes the checks, or it could go as far as to have a computer set up in the store where users can review it on site. You don’t even have to ask for a POSITIVE review, you can just say we’d love for you to review us on Yelp! so that other people can learn about your experience here.

The ownership could then use Yelp! and try and somehow send a private message to any negative reviewers apologizing for their poor experience and maybe inviting them back (heck, or buying them a free meal somewhere else!)

What’s at the heart of what I’m getting at here is that smaller sized businesses can utilize social media tools just as effectively (probably even MORE effectively) than huge corporations, they just have to know what tools are relevant and useful for their business.

Do you have any killer ideas for how small businesses could better utilize social tools?

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • ryanstephens October 22, 2009, 12:53 pm

    You and your play on words. You're soooo clever. Couple that with your propensity to succeed with visuals despite the fact that you're a male and I'm not convinced your future isn't with an ad agency. Jeremiah had a good piece on “How Local Businesses Can Benefit From Mobile Social Networks.” I think my favorite is location based discounts. That would definitely increase foot traffic.

  • thomasmcmillanjr October 24, 2009, 2:14 pm

    I agree….online retailers use ratings/reviews online to highlight products and it is quite powerful (See ebags story in the book Groundswell).

    I'm also surprised that restaurants don't use this technique more. There are lots of great ways to use it:
    - find out what your best dish truly is and “why” they like it so much (insight)
    - use ratings/reviews to adjust your menus (maybe even prices)
    - learn what parts of the experience are keeping your best customers coming back and what parts might be making them choose to go elsewhere.

    The list truly goes on and on.

  • thomasmcmillanjr October 24, 2009, 4:14 pm

    I agree….online retailers use ratings/reviews online to highlight products and it is quite powerful (See ebags story in the book Groundswell).

    I'm also surprised that restaurants don't use this technique more. There are lots of great ways to use it:
    - find out what your best dish truly is and “why” they like it so much (insight)
    - use ratings/reviews to adjust your menus (maybe even prices)
    - learn what parts of the experience are keeping your best customers coming back and what parts might be making them choose to go elsewhere.

    The list truly goes on and on.

  • thomasmcmillanjr October 24, 2009, 8:14 pm

    I agree….online retailers use ratings/reviews online to highlight products and it is quite powerful (See ebags story in the book Groundswell).

    I'm also surprised that restaurants don't use this technique more. There are lots of great ways to use it:
    - find out what your best dish truly is and “why” they like it so much (insight)
    - use ratings/reviews to adjust your menus (maybe even prices)
    - learn what parts of the experience are keeping your best customers coming back and what parts might be making them choose to go elsewhere.

    The list truly goes on and on.

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