There once was a day where online reviews were nothing more than fluff and a way for frustrated visitors (or competitors) to vent and bring your business down to their level. Today's internet reviews, accompanied with the advent and wide adoption of Yelp reviews, can make or break your business. From building a dedicated client base to securing funding necessary to grow your business, here are a few ways Yelp impacts your business.

Yelp Gets Your Business on the Map

The iOS map, that is. In June 2014, Apple announced some pretty serious Yelp integrations into its proprietary iOS including Apple Maps as well as Apple Infotainment according to this Chief Ingredient blog post. While slightly dated, we can't overlook the fact that Yelp gives businesses more intimate exposure with the estimated 75 million iPhone users in the United States. While Apple took the jump to include Yelp in its iOS, similar functionality lies with Google's Android platform which links a business's location in Yelp to Google Maps for easy navigation.

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Yelp is Huge

With approximately 142 million Yelp users and an estimated 90 million Yelp reviews, Yelp has become the name of the online reviews game for businesses. Credible, quantifiable, and omniscient, Yelp is the place where people start to research where they choose to dine, drink, play, meet, and do just about anything else under the sun. Having your business on Yelp will expose you to more local (and non-local) customers seeking something new or something familiar and safe.

Yelp Reviews May Affect Lending

Just as you've been told time and time again not to air out your dirty laundry on your personal Facebook page, Yelp is becoming the place where lenders look to evaluate businesses. The Post Bulletin reported at the end of 2015 that lenders are beginning to evaluate more than financial statements when considering restaurants for loans. In fact, according to the article, certain metrics have been established by some firms to evaluate the hardiness of a business based on Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp reviews among others.

Yelp's Demographics May Surprise You

While many social media sites have attracted a wide demographic base, Yelp's demographics primarily focus on the upper-class, middle-aged group. According to some more of Expanded Ramblings statistics, 31.6% of Yelp reviews come from individuals earning over $100,000 annually and the largest age group for Yelp reviews comes from 36.4% of users. While this doesn't necessarily paint a picture of the entire user populous for Yelp, it gives us a good idea of who is active on its platform.

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Conclusion

Whether you're looking into online marketing to augment an already stellar marketing strategy or look to delve into a new way to reach customers with your product, Yelp may give you what you need to succeed. Yelp reviews are largely considered one of the best places for consumers to start researching businesses, and favorable reviews could give you a significant boost in new as well as existing customers. Monitor the reviews that customers are posting, be responsive, and watch how your business responds.

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