If you own a company that doesn’t have a single social media page or account is it a trustworthy organization? Will people be willing to go to your restaurant or other business if they can’t find it on Yelp?
In today’s day and age, many people do not enter a restaurant or salon without checking its Yelp review, book a hotel without checking its TripAdvisor review, hire an employee without checking the candidate’s LinkedIn profile, and the list goes on.
What is Yelp?
Yelp is a social media networking app and website that allows businesses ranging from restaurants to watch repair stores to post their details and locations and receive publicly posted customer reviews. Yelp users have a public profile, can create a list of friends with whom they have a connection with, and can view and “transverse their list of connections within the system” (Boyd 211). Thus, it fulfills Danah M. Boyd and Nicole B Ellison’s definition of a social network site (Boyd 211).
Yelp users can express their feelings about specific businesses and connect with others who like similar businesses by adding or messaging them. Yelp connects people in similar geographical areas, involves shared practices including making reviews and ratings, its users have shared resources through businesses posting accessible details about their services and consumers posting accessible reviews, it entails users with shared personalities as some like certain cuisines more and know more about those cuisines, and enables the formation of interpersonal relationships through 1 on 1 messaging. According to Nancy K. Baym, these five qualities (space, shared practice, shared resources, shared identities, and interpersonal relationships) constitute an online community (Baym 74-88).
The emergence of Instagram ads in recent years has pressured companies to sign up with Instagram and utilize its marketing functions. Research has provided that Instagram ads attracted roughly triple the amount of consumer attention than social media giants Facebook and Twitter (Dua 1).
Effectiveness of Social Media for Businesses
A study by Boston Consulting Group provides that businesses of several different industries, especially smaller firms have experienced average revenue boosts of $23,000 through singing up with Yelp (DiGrande 1).
In this generation, “keeping up appearances on rating sites is particularly crucial for businesses ” (Tsukayama 1). The smaller businesses in North America constitute roughly $5.5 trillion in yearly revenue, and “according to a new study conducted by LinkedIn, social media is increasingly becoming the vital axis upon which this community turns” (Geoff 1). The majority of these smaller businesses (81% of them) utilize social media to stimulate revenue, and roughly 9% of the smaller businesses that don’t use social media are planning on starting to do so in the near future (Geoff 1). Therefore, 90% of the businesses that make $5.5 trillion a year either use or plan on using social media to stimulate their businesses.
With this, it can be inferred that almost all of these smaller and medium sized businesses can be tracked down to a social media site, which outcasts the few that don’t have a connection with social media. This undermines the chances that these few companies will achieve credibility, as they are the minority whose business information and ratings are not available to the public. Hence, consumers are more inclined to resort to companies with ratings, reviews, and company details on social media sites as it makes them credible. Not having a social media page or account makes a company seem underdeveloped and unreliable in today’s technology-centric world, and it also limits its growth opportunity.
Baym, Nancy K. “Communities and Networks.” Personal Connections in the Digital Age. N.p.: Polity, 2010. 72-120. Print
Boston Consulting Group. Online Advertising Already Delivers Significant Returns on Investment. 2013.N.p.
Boyd, Danah M., and Nicole B. Ellison. “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship.”Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. N.p.: n.p., 2008. 210-25. Print.
DiGrande, Sebastian, David Knox, Kate Manfred, and John Rose. “Unlocking the Digital- Marketing Potential of Small Businesses.” Boston Consulting Group, 19 Mar. 2013. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.
Dua, Tanya. “Instagram Ads Are a Hit among Brands – Digiday.” Digiday. DigiDay, 15 Sept. 2015. Web.17 Feb. 2016.
Mirror Online. Insta Ads. 2014. Instagram Has Started Showing Ads in Your Feed. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
Tsukayama, Hayley. “How Much Power Does a Yelp Review Have?” The Washington Post, 22 May 2013.Web. 17 Feb. 2016.
Weiss, Geoff. “This Is How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media.” Entrepreneur. N.p., 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.