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June 06, 2011

Yelp and the "1/9/90 Rule"

When you think about Yelp, you probably think mostly about the users writing reviews. That's understandable. Our slogan does read "Real People, Real Reviews." But there's more to Yelp than reviews. A whole lot more. 

Journalist Susan Kuchinskas recently explored a little-known phenomenon in social media referred to as the "1/9/90 Rule". 

What is this rule? According to Kuchinskas, "only 1 percent of users will actively create content. Another 9 percent, the editors, will participate by commenting, rating or sharing the content. The other 90 percent watch, look and read without responding." 

Like other forms of social media, Yelp follows the 1/9/90 Rule. In other words, most people on Yelp don't write reviews; they read them. This group represents your prospective customers. They come to Yelp looking to spend. You want them to find you.

What does this mean for your business? 

The most successful businesses on Yelp won’t always have the most reviews. Generally speaking, businesses with the most page views (biggest audience) are the ones gaining the most new customers. 

What's the best way to use this rule to your advantage? 

Start by building a listing with compelling content and photos which highlight every aspect of your business. Put emphasis on enticing selling points like promotions or discounts. Target Yelp's mobile audience of nearly four million users by creating a check-in offer. Respond to your reviews -- invite your customers back, or let them know what's new with your business. In critical review situations, use the messaging tools to address customer concerns.