Yelp and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have teamed up to launch the Success With Online Reviews initiative, which kicked off last week at the New York Stock Exchange.
"Sharing what you dig and what you don’t is nothing new, but today this consumer word-of-mouth happens at lightning speed online, in the form of reviews," says Darnell Holloway, Yelp's Senior Manager of Local Business Outreach. "What’s more is that in a recent national survey, 85% of consumers said that they read online reviews about local businesses. "
That would be the Local Consumer Review Survey 2013 from BrightLocal.
While the kickoff event is over, Yelp and the SBA will be bringing "local expert" workshops to various cities around the country over the course of the next few months. They'll also be hosting a series of webinars, beginning on February 11th.
According to the SBA, the events will teach best practices for handling negative reviews, responding to reviews, generating more buzz with promotions, and monitoring customer leads.
At the initial event, local business owners were invited to listen to a panel made up of "business owner experts" and reviewers fro Yelp's Elite Squad, including the owner of the most reviewed locksmith business in New York.
The initiative itself will run through Small Business Week in May (05/12-05/16).
Image via Yelp