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Time to Yelp!

August 14, 2008  

Following its 2005 debut, Yelp became the Zagat for a new school of tastemakers. "Yelpers" review everything—bars, boutiques, dot-coms, universities—with humor, anecdotes and flair. Yelp boasted 3.3 million users in March. For marketers targeting young adults, it's got major sex appeal: Yelp reviews are trusted by spendy twenty-somethings, and many or most rank well on Google. A few tips for building brand equity on Yelp:

Contact Yelp to get your brand/product circulating an Elite party. (Elites are top Yelpers in big cities. Their fêtes generate major brand buzz.) You'll appear in Yelp's newsletter, on exclusive invitations and sometimes in local papers.

Ensure you've got something worth sharing. Elites are lavish when they love you—but when they don't, their remarks have scalded some businesses.

Create a Yelp listing for your brand or location. Add pictures, but don't inflate listings with fake reviews.

Thank reviewers that love you with personal messages; woo haters back with kindness, perks and requests for more feedback. (They'll often update bad reviews without you asking.) If you do stir the ire of volatile Yelpers, there's a whole FAQ page devoted to addressing Tricky Situations.

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