Like it or not, Yelp is here to stay — your best bet is to make the most of this powerful marketing tool. “As a salon owner you should not only claim your free Yelp Business Owner’s Account and update your business information, but also engage with your listing in a way that draws more attention and helps generate more natural review content for your business,” says Emily Washcovick, manager of business outreach for Yelp. Washcovick offers these five tips to best take advantage of Yelp’s free tools so you can get your salon in front of more potential new clients:

1. Complete Your Listing. Begin by claiming your Yelp For Business Owners Account at biz.yelp.com. You will be walked through the steps to verify your salon hours, website, address, and phone number. From there you’ll want to add a specialties section that describes what sets you apart and the specific services you offer.
Since all Yelp users search differently (some may search “nail appointment” while others may search “gel manicure”), it’s important to include details about your services and special offerings so you can be found more often. Visuals are also a great selling point for businesses. You can upload an unlimited number of photos, so start taking pictures of the awesome nail art your salon is doing and uploading it to your page. Photos of the decor, your staff, and happy customers are always great.

2. Check-In Offers/Yelp Deals. You can set up a Check-In Offer or Yelp Deal in a few quick clicks. Check-In Offers engage mobile users of Yelp. These users are searching on-the-go and tend to take action faster. Check-In Offers can be anything from a free item to a percentage off the service. Check-In Offers prompt consumers to leave a review the next time they log into Yelp after checking in at your business. This helps grow your brand across social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and engages customers beyond leaving a review.

Setting up Yelp Deals is another great way to grab first-time customers. You select the value of your Yelp Deal through your account and you can turn it on or off whenever you choose.

3. Respond to Reviews. You can respond to reviews publicly or privately through Yelp for Business Owners. Remember, when responding to your reviews, it is important to remain professional, thank the reviewer for her feedback, and share any updates that have been made to your business as a result. Consumers see a response to a negative review as the business valuing the customer’s experience and wanting to engage with consumers on a personal level. Sending a short, private message to a positive reviewer also shows those happy clients you appreciate their business.

4. Download the Mobile App For Business Owners. Visit the iTunes or Google Play store to download the free Yelp For Business Owners App. (The business owner’s app is blue; not the traditional red.) Once you log into your account, you will stay logged in on your device. You will notice multiple features available to you including the ability to check your activity, respond to reviews, and upload photos.

5. Spread the Word. Share your reviews on other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, or via email. We’ve even seen businesses print their reviews and frame them. Beyond just telling your patrons they can find your business on Yelp, you can also make it visible in your salon or on your website. Visit www.yelp.com/brand to see all of the approved “Find Us On Yelp” stickers, signage, and hyperlinks to include Yelp in your email signature or on your website.