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5 Tips to Better Engagement on Yelp for Business

Yelp Success Guide Put Customer First

There are a plethora of online platforms and apps that are important for businesses to use. Signing up for Yelp is an essential starting point for any small business in 2020.

Claiming and using your own Yelp page is easy. It doesn’t require any technical knowledge and thankfully there’s help to guide you through using and signing up for a Yelp Business page.


How to Sign Up for Yelp Business

1. Visit the Yelp Signup page at to learn more

2. Signup using your information or use your Facebook account

3. Add a profile photo, find friends, and fill out your Yelp details


Leave Cali BBQ a review on Yelp

With more commerce being done online in 2020 and beyond, it’s increasingly important and essential to be there for your customers online — not just offline.

That’s why we practice and preach Digital Hospitality. One mission at Cali BBQ is to always be available to help and answer your questions on Yelp and the other popular websites where people can interact with businesses.

To survive and thrive, you must be where your customers are spending time using online social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, and, of course, Yelp.

“That’s where your customers are now,” said Emily Washcovick from Yelp, a guest on our Digital Hospitality podcast. “That’s the sandbox they’re playing in.”


Yelp Tools for Free

There are many tools and tips for engaging with a business audience on Yelp as well as other websites and apps that host online profiles and customer reviews.

It’s important to respond when someone takes the time to message you.

“There’s absolutely no reason that every business shouldn’t claim their free Yelp page,” emphasizes Yelp employee Emily Washcovick.


Free Yelp Tools Infographic

“The best way to think about that is why wouldn’t you want control and ownership and the ability to update and verify information about your business?”


Yelp for Business Tips

Here are some Yelp for Business tips from Yelp employee Emily Washcovick on how to best use Yelp for Small Business pages.


1. Make Updates

To start, small updates to your Yelp page can make a major difference for your business.

“We always tell businesses you want a minimum of 10 photos on your page,” shares Emily Washcovick about updating Yelp business profiles. “That’s going to help you with straight up visibility. But if those 10 photos are captioned, telling us what we’re looking at, describing services, those captions help you appear more in search results.”


2. Get Help

Some small business owners may have been too busy to do this in the past. In 2020, there’s really no excuse. You either have to choose to grow your business by being online or eventually close down. The consumers have spoken and they want e-commerce and other digital services.

“During COVID, I’m sure you have a staff member who would want to work for you on your page,” Emily says. “Even if it’s just a few hours a week on a project. Send them on a mission, have them set up Google alerts and figure out where your business is being mentioned online. By taking 30 minutes to put some intentional keywords on your page, you’re going to not only help your visibility on Yelp but help your visibility on the Internet.”

When considering the costs of standard advertising who wouldn’t use these tools for free?


3. Engage Audience

Once your page is claimed, it still all comes back to engagement.

“The world I live in now is using Yelp’s tools as an avenue to teach business owners about marketing, about digital engagement, about working to express their brand the same way they do in person, but online,” says Emily.

Having the ability to vocalize what your brand is online may seem peripheral to some or even unimportant. On the contrary, it’s perhaps the greatest gift business owners have ever received.

“This online conversation that’s happening about your business is the same conversation you had hoped for years ago,” Emily begins. “People would experience your business and you’d want them to tell their colleagues. You’d want them to tell their sister-in-law. You’d want them to tell everyone they know about how incredible your business is. The thing you’ve always cared about as a business owner is now online.”

Jackpot, right? Yes. But how do you make that reach expand and flourish?

“The way to grow that to expand it,” starts Emily, “the way to have it work for you is to engage with it.”

“Businesses that are engaging with their online profiles, whether that’s responding to reviews, uploading photos, whatever it may be, they’re getting more reviews and oftentimes higher star ratings,” notes Emily. “It makes total human sense. If I as a consumer see that the business owner cares about their reputation, they’re responding to things, and then I go have a great experience, I’m far more inclined to share it.”


4. Use Your Voice

Yelp is a tool – a free one in many ways – and it gives businesses a voice. To be able to use your own voice on such a powerful platform is key in winning both now and in the future.

“The Internet is a way to express your personality, the way to really humanize your brand,” says Emily. “If you’re taking advantage of that, you really can control the narrative. And if you’re not, it’s happening without you.”


5. Reevaluate Strategies

During the COVID pandemic, many businesses are reevaluating numerous components of their strategy and flow just to keep the lights on. Emily sees this time as an opportunity to make changes or efforts now that will continue to earn in the future.

“Every business has had to make an operational change or shift,” notes Emily. “If you’re doing it with a short-term outcome in mind, you’re probably not looking broad enough and how you can use this unfortunate few months in the COVID period to better your business in the long run. Really come up with a new system or a new process, a new touch fully that makes your business ahead of the rest.”

New processes mean shifting how and why you do things.

“Now is the time to take a look at that and figure out how to keep that revenue in the bottom line and expand those margins. Reevaluate where you can invest to get the return you’re looking for,” says Emily.

The best investment not only for this time but the long run? Digital Hospitality.

“People want to know what you’re up to,” said Yelp’s Emily Washcovick. “They want to know what weird challenges you’re having in the kitchen, trying to figure out how to keep stuff hot in delivery format. Let them know how things are going. Bring them in behind the curtain of your business and really use this opportunity when as a society we’re feeling a little disconnected to bring that connection with your consumer in through that digital chain.”


Yelp Business Categories

Sign up for Yelp Business at

Read the Yelp Blog Business Section at

Email Cali BBQ Media and Digital Hospitality podcast team at

Connect with Cali BBQ on Yelp and leave a review at




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