Get Social

Check In Chapter 1: Yelp

Posted on: February 24, 2011

As a recent iPhone convert and avid Yelper, I typically check in at local businesses using Yelp’s mobile application. The app is free, and a nearly full-service version of the desktop site with some additional functionality– monocle anyone? Love how it commandeers your phone’s camera and local businesses and their ratings pop up to guide you to the nearest burrito joint, drugstore, etc. But that’s old news. What’s new that I’m seeing is a sub-community being built around the mobile application, specifically caused by check ins.

First, why check in? From a business perspective, managers can see their popularity in real time and can offer promotional offers, a la Foursquare. What I’ve been able to dig up on statistics are that Yelp claims check in use increases by 50% each month {source: Mashable’s Post here}. It’s a component of the “business owner package”– the company’s sales arm mails out window clings and encourages businesses to take control of their listing by including offers (now mobile) and responding to user reviews. Sure, being able to respond to a review complaining “Josie was rude” or lauding “Julie’s 6 am Abs and Butt Power Hour” is nice, but the real value for a business now is to connect with active Yelp users through the check in offer.

Think about it: Yelp offers a user experience directly tied to business reputation; avid users of the site have been writing “real” reviews– per Yelp.com’s official slogan– since 2005. 3 months ago, check ins roll out, and users with smart phones can now share their location/recent activity with the Yelp community, as well as push these updates to their Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Oh, they can also add ‘quick tips’ on the go. Users are rewarded with rankings: classifications as a regular after multiple visits, badges unlocked based on types of businesses frequented, Dukedoms (sounds a lot like Foursquare’s mayor title), and a numeric positioning for number of check ins and quick tips, refreshed on a weekly basis. So, cool. I’ve got a new sense of worth as a Yelp member because I use the check in feature. (Side note: I’m also getting fans– anonymous followers of my profile–  at a rate of 3-4 per week lately, which appears to correlate directly with my check in activity.)

my mobile Yelp profile shows my key check in stats

How does this new, ‘real time’ subset of the Yelp community really create significance for your business? Simple. Check in offers make customers happy. Happy customers write good reviews. Sure, Foursquare users can become the mayor of your location, and Scvngr users can post pictures of your product for points, but the most basic useful content a user can generate for your business is a positive review. And, PS, the website automatically prompts users to write reviews when they log in after check ins. Tap into a community of (mostly) articulate, (hopefully) satisfied, (definitely) tech-savvy and tuned-in to trends individuals in your demographic by embracing Yelp as a major player in the check in space.

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1 Response to "Check In Chapter 1: Yelp"

[…] to the canon of available functions on its mobile application last November. I wax poetic about it here. To summarize that post, Yelp check in offers work similarly to the other […]

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