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).

Instagram Ads

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).


Instagram Ads

Insta Ads (Mirror Online 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).

Online Advertising Already Delivers Significant Returns on Investment

Online Advertising Already Delivers Significant Returns on Investment (Boston Consulting Group 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.

Works Cited

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.


2 thoughts on “Blog 1: The Importance of Social Media for Businesses

  1. I had never previously thought of Yelp as a social networking app but now I can see how it constitutes as one. I am not an active participant to Yelp (ie. I do not write reviews or rate any of the places I go) however, I, as well as many others I know, do use Yelp a lot and rely on it for restaurant recommendations as well as a variety of other things (I have gone to certain salons and specific hair stylists based on Yelp reviews). I think Yelp is very unique in the fact that so many people depend on it who are not actual content creators. Not many other social media networks function in this way. While it could be argued the other way, stating that many Instagram users create profiles just to lurk on other people’s photos and do not post any themselves, no social media network has majority of its users as non-content creators and I would argue Yelp does. Because of this, it has an extremely large user population and it is no wonder businesses suffer from lacking a Yelp profile or having poor ratings and reviews.

    I remember when Instagram started having advertisements and at first I did not even realize they were ads – I thought they were pictures being uploaded by those I was following. I believe the fact that the ads on Insta are so inconspicuous is why they are so successful at creating attention. While that seems like an oxymoron, the blatantness of ads on Facebook and Twitter drive people to avoid them because they may feel like they are being talked at rather being offered a nice suggestion like they may feel on Instagram.

    While I wasn’t completely surprised to find out that many businesses, specifically smaller businesses use to generate revenue, the fact that 90% of these small businesses use or plan to use social media to promote their business is definitely somewhat shocking. Having worked at a small educational start-up company running their social media platforms, I know the importance of a good social media presence and image in order to prompt new users. There are specific apps and websites these companies use to determine where they get most of their users from and for us, our biggest user generator was Twitter. Social media is an amazing platform for start up companies like the one I worked with to build themselves up and target very specific groups of people from which they know they will create revenue.

  2. I am really glad that you brought up that last bit in your blog, remarking that not having a social media page as a business “limits its growth potential”. I think that having a strong social media presence is something that is too far overlooked by many businesses. While many are catching on a lot faster, there is also a large gap with the knowledge of how to navigate through these social media networks in order to have success. (This would be a starting point for another topic considering how this is an opening for a potential avenues for many of the younger generation to be able to find niches in businesses, but that would be for another discussion).
    I like that you addressed Yelp. I do not think that this would have been a topic that I would have discussed when talking about businesses and social media. I think you gave good insight into what Yelp has that constitutes it as a social media network. You had started talking about Instagram ads and I wish that you had pursued that angle a bit more because that was actually something that I have never really heard about.
    As for the deal with the small businesses and social media, I actually have experience with this because this past winter I interned at a small food company as a part of their social media team. I think that their story is a prime example of the position that a lot of companies may find themselves in these days. This company in particular had an app that was already up and running, working well and with backing from sponsors. However, their primary concern during the time that I was interning with them was social media. They were doing whatever it took to advance their social media standing. They had the app that they needed. It was just a matter of expanding their brand. I think that this is something that not everyone gets a chance to see or is something that is apparent. While it is more clear these days that companies/businesses need to jump on social media to maximize growth potential, this may not always be as easy as formulating a social media page.
    What my company struggled with most was getting people to view their content to build up their brand. Because there are so many businesses out there and so many companies doing similar things, it makes it really difficult for a smaller company to get noticed. What was especially difficult for our company was that there was no grassroots movement to build up the brand. The app itself was so successful that it got funding to expand to another location. So while they were ready with the app, the brand name was not ready. They were trying to build up the name in two different locations in the world, spreading their team thinner and making it difficult to grow in one place. There is also something to be said about other competition that was doing something similar and trying to build brand image in that way too.
    While I think it was great you mentioned the necessity for companies/businesses to have social media pages, there is a definite struggle to even build up a company within the social media sphere. But I agree. It is necessary in today’s day and age to have a presence online.

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