By Alex Gladu, Writer, Independent We Stand
This week, local business leaders from across the country will come together at Yelp’s headquarters in San Francisco to learn from the online platform’s experts and provide feedback about their experiences with customers and online reviews. Out of 100 local businesses selected to attend the educational event, long-time Independent We Stand Premium Member The Royal Chocolate was selected to represent the Hampton Roads region of southeastern Virginia. An independent, women-owned gourmet chocolate shop in Virginia Beach, The Royal Chocolate can boast positive review after positive review on Yelp, thanks to delicious treats and a cozy ambiance.
Yelp’s event, officially called “Coast to Coast: Coming Together Because We Mean Business,” will give the exclusive group of local business leaders the opportunity to see a side of Yelp that few businesses ever experience. Representatives from the selected businesses will meet with leaders at Yelp, who can share their expertise and best practices for engaging fans online and making the most of Yelp’s tools. In return, the business leaders will form small focus groups to provide feedback to the Yelp leaders, so that Yelp can improve its relationship with businesses and refine the tools that it offers.
“I’m really excited to attend the trip,” said Brenda Tusing, who co-owns The Royal Chocolate and will attend the event on behalf of the business. “The opportunity to learn and bring back new and exciting ways to market our small business is a wonderful opportunity for The Royal Chocolate.”
Yelp selected businesses based on nominations from its community managers around the United States and Canada. Community managers looked for local businesses that had claimed their Yelp page and made the most of the reviews that customers provided by acknowledging feedback and building out the page to make it as robust as possible. The Royal Chocolate has more than 60 reviews on Yelp for an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The business makes the most of its Yelp page by telling its Main Street Story in the page’s 'Info' section. From the Yelp page, customers and potential customers can find out not just when the shop is open and where it’s located, but also who owns it, why they started the business and how long they’ve been in business.
The Royal Chocolate already takes advantage of Yelp’s tools and influence, and it has developed a good rapport among customers as a result. Now, the local business leaders behind this popular small business will learn what more they can do — and they’ll get to have a say in what more Yelp does for small businesses. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity and a well-deserved recognition of a Main Street business.
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