Opinions: everybody has one. Many, many more than one, in most cases. And most people love to share them. Enter Yelp, the largest social platform primarily dedicated to local business reviews in the world. As important as advertising is to loan officers and other businesses, nothing can beat positive word of mouth. A flurry of positive reviews can usher potential customers to your door just as surely as any well-received print or television ad and can immediately dispel any fears or questions they may have about the quality of your work. Here’s how you can begin the process of creating a Yelp Business account and start racking up five-star reviews from happy customers.
How to create your Yelp Business account
The first step in taking advantage of Yelp is to add your ‘business’ to the Yelp roster. Many ‘traditional’ businesses are automatically included on Yelp and were not necessarily added by the business owner. For example, you may want to leave a positive or negative review for the local Taco Bell. You will almost certainly find that this particular Taco Bell is already on Yelp and receiving customer reviews, whether or not the franchise owner added it themselves, because the Yelp program has automatically listed all of the physical storefront businesses it can locate. However, a loan officer will most likely find that he or she does not have a Yelp business listing and must request that it be added. To do so, verify that you are not listed by following this link (1) and searching for your name. Once you have confirmed you are not already on Yelp, simply click the button that appears which says ‘Add your business to Yelp’. Yelp will ask you for business information, including your email address, which you can enter in the provided fields. Once complete, click ‘Add Business’ and you’re on your way! Yelp administrators will review your submission to ensure that you meet the site’s business standards. Once approved, you will be officially added to the Yelp business roster.
How to regain access to your account
As with all other social media networks, Yelp requires a username (or email) and password to access your account. If you forget your password, simply click the ‘forgot password’ button on the login screen and a link will be sent to your email to reset your password. However, the possibility exists that you may encounter an issue wherein you have already been listed on Yelp when you attempt to sign up and someone else has already claimed your business name. If that occurs, you may request ownership of the existing page through Yelp (2). To verify that you are the rightful owner, Yelp administrators may attempt to call the phone number listed and ask that you share a verification code which they’ve provided. If this doesn’t work, they will give you instructions for submitting a report to the Yelp Support team to help them confirm ownership of your name on the platform.
How to edit your account
Editing the information that prospective clients and the rest of the public see when they visit your Yelp page is easy. First, log in with your email/password credentials, then click your profile icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. Select ‘Account Settings’ and then ‘Profile’. From there, you can correct your name (if necessary), add a nickname, specify your gender, add your hometown, write a short headline and bio for your Yelp page, and more (3). You can also add your photo to your Yelp profile from the same location. Adding a photo is an important step when joining Yelp: business page owners are unable to respond to reviews left by customers until a profile photo has been added to their business page and approved by Yelp administrators (4). If you need to update the email address that is tied to your account, simply click ‘Edit Business Account Information,’ add your new email address, and click ‘Save’ (5).
How to mark your business as "Temporarily Closed"
There is no way to temporarily unpublish a page, and there is no way to delete a business page altogether. Instead, users can mark a business as Permanently Closed or Temporarily Closed (more on Permanently Closed below). Tap on the 'Edit Business' option and make the appropriate selections. If you are in the process of remodeling or you'll be closed for an extended period of time you can report a temporary closure. Using the same methods above, select the 'Temporary Closed' option (6).
How to "Claim" your page
Claiming is how you manage your Yelp Page. Claiming your page allows you to edit the details on your page and gives you access to a suite of free tools and metrics for your business. For example, you can update your hours, add details about your business, upload photos, respond to reviews, and more. It allows you to bring your unique business brand and personality to Yelp. Keep in mind some page information may have a cost associated, such as adding a business logo. To claim a page, go to Yelp for Business at biz.yelp.com/claim. Find your business page by typing in your business name. If it’s listed, click on it. If it’s not listed, you can instead create one using “Add to Yelp for free.” Claim the page by creating a Yelp account and entering your business information and email address. Verify your account by entering your verification code from the system email (7).
How to "Unclaim" your page
‘Deleting’ your account is a little different on Yelp than on most other social platforms. As Yelp is largely geared towards local customer reviews of a business, leaving a business does not mean those reviews are no longer valid or topical. Thus, it is generally a difficult process to remove a business entirely from Yelp and users are rarely successful. One possible option is to “unclaim” your Yelp business page. This will not remove the page from Yelp or its reviews, but it will remove you from the page and disallow you from making changes. You can unclaim your Yelp page by following this link and following the instructions (8). Another option is to transfer your page to - or share it with - another person, perhaps a partner, manager, or coworker. To do this, click on your profile photo and then ‘Account Settings.’ Select ‘User Management’ and then ‘Invite a User’. Yelp will ask for that person’s job title and email address. Finally, click ‘Send Invite’. Once that person accepts the invitation in their email, they will have the same permissions on this business page as you do, able to read and respond to reviews, add or edit business and billing information, and so on. You may also revoke user access from this same page. Up to 15 people can be added as users on any given Yelp business account.
If neither of these options are sufficient and you prefer that the business be de-listed from Yelp (perhaps you decide to change careers and your Loan Officer page is no longer valid), you can report the ‘business’ as permanently closed. To do this, visit your business page and click ‘Edit’. Scroll down until you reach the ‘Business Closed or Moved’ option. You can choose from further sub-options, including ‘Permanently Closed,’ ‘Moved to New Location,’ or ‘Temporarily Closed.’ In the ‘Additional Context’ field, you may choose to elaborate with more information, to better help the Yelp Administrator who reviews your selection update your page in a timely fashion. ‘Closing’ your business on Yelp still allows you permission to edit your page - in case you wish to ‘re-open’ it in the future. Your business will still appear in Yelp search results, but the website will prominently inform all visitors to the page that the business is now closed.
Prospective borrowers have so many choices in today’s mortgage industry and it is imperative that loan officers be able to position themselves as a hardworking, reliable, and trustworthy option in a cutthroat industry. Those looking to take out a home loan are faced with dozens, if not hundreds, of smiling-faced advertisements promising them the moon and stars. How does one know who or what to believe? Yelp cuts through the toothy promises by delivering news to customers straight from the source - previous customers. A great review is gold to any LO and Yelp is a world-famous one-stop-shop for word of mouth on everything from yoga to yogurt. If you’re looking to share the good word from your happy clients, there’s no better place to do that now than Yelp. Maybe it’s time you started spreading the news and showing your local community that your track record is proven, trusted, and second to none.