Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name

 

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We’ve been living in the great city of Boston nearly 3 years now and I still marvel at how much is packed into to such a small area.

 Navigating the city was overwhelming at first, let alone picking out a place to get a drink.  As a dive bars aficionado, I knew finding the places that the locals go would be difficult but fortunately I happened upon Yelp and can now proudly say that I know some of the best dive bars in Boston to  hang my hat.

So what’s this yelp?

Yelp employs a pretty simple model that has been hugely popular – just check out the “10 things to know about Yelp” highlighted on the company website. image
Yelp began as a review site centered around local business. Want to know if the Chinese restaurant is any good ? Check out Yelp.  It’s driven completely by it’s users who rank all type of businesses from banks, restaurants, plumbers and yes even dive bars. They use a simple  1-5 star ranking and offer personal,  insightful and often funny personal reviews.

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Not only can you find out if your dinner is likely to be good, you’ll also find  helpful hints and suggestions that you typically wouldn’t get from standard review. Reviews may not always be helpful but they are typically fun to read and often motivate you to add your own two cents. 

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As Yelp has grown, it’s developed a social network aspect but unlike Facebook which is centered around users, yelp focus remains on local business.  It’s the word of month effect that Yelp is trying to duplicate. Since the dawn of marketing, the best advertising is word of mouth or personal referrals. People ask their friends or people they trust for recommendations . Yelp  integrates this into a social media platform and introduces a social network to support it.  Instead of doing personal searches, discovering new restaurants becomes a social search between a group of people. Suddenly as a yelp user you can nurture your own network of like mined friends or reviewers generating unique and personalized way to find information in you area.

Were Yelp shines…. Mobile
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With the heavy proliferation of smart phones- mobile apps have changed the way we and businesses  interact with the web and information.

Yelp’s app for the IPhone and Android exemplifies how location based information can be used not only to drive business but engage consumers in a whole new way.

Already a go to site for many consumers when trying to determine the best place to get sushi Yelp has now utilized location based information provide by cell phone or GPS to give the end user relevant information based on where they are and what their preferences are.

 

At south station and looking for a old school Sinatra bar?

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Just pop into you yelp app and and bring up the the monocle feature on the app. This application utilizes you camera and overlays search information on what you are looking at based on you location.

You can scan around in a circle and it provides directional information depending on where you are pointing.

Maps and Directions

You can also search by map using the “near by” feature. This not only provides standard Yelp information and reviews but will integrate maps to give  you directions on how to get there.

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Once you have found where you are going you can check to see if your friends have reviewed the location or “checked in” allowing other yelp users to know where you currently are or if you have been there recently.

I’m not a huge fan of the “check-in” feature as I have used a similar feature on Facebook  and have ended up connecting with people out of the blue. (not always for the best)

Bottom line: Yelp’s mobile application engages consumers on a whole new level and allows them to discover new businesses on a broader integrated level.

Yelp for Business

Last February Yelp released the following data: image

  • Yelpers called a local business every other second via the mobile application.
  • 35 percent of all searches on Yelp.com came from a Yelp mobile app.
  • Every other second a consumer generated directions to a local business.
  • A photo was uploaded every 30 seconds from a Yelp mobile app.

From a business perspective Yelp magnifies the word of mouth effect a 1000 times over. Not only will  people be able to easily find your restaurant or bar  faster but you can actually collect real time feedback and reviews from your customers, sometimes while they are in your establishment.

Yelp offer a variety of tools for business to not only monitor customer information and search data but to generate more business through marketing.

One of the coolest new features is “yelp deals” similar to groupon.

image Yelp utilizes it’s network as a channel for companies to activate deals or specials based on very specific criteria.

Time limited or per person offers can be pushed to users who have checked- in or tagged a business as a favorite or just to show up in general searches.

Offers or messaging can even be activated within proximity of the business.

Many restaurants offer special offers for simply checking in while you are there to raise their profile on yelp.

Paired with reviews and social preferences, businesses can be very exact with targeted offers and marketing strategies.

Mobile applications and location based information is enhancing the way we find, connect and relate with each other and with businesses.

As a yelp user, simply walking into your local dive bar suddenly becomes a status update for friends and an instant recommendation for a local business.

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One thought on “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name

  1. I’ve always wondered if the name Yelp is a fusion of ‘Yell’ and ‘Help’ because that is what this tool does. It allows users to yell out what places to go to (reviews) and gives help to those new in town(finder). This is the preferred version to the Yellow pages which was at one time the only book that could allow individuals find local businesses. Yelp is the evolution of that concept. It is a force of advertising like non other and it brings local businesses and users together in a very special way. I wonder whats next on the SM horizon….

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