Identifying Local Reviewers

Getting Started

One of the biggest pain points for those of you who do local marketing, either for yourself as a business owner or as an agency on behalf of clients who are small business owners, is to figure out how you can possibly get people to review your business. A lot of times even if you ask people who you know love your service, they love your product but aren't particularly tech savvy, you know they're going to have a hard time registering for an account. They may not understand why leaving a review is important. If they don't have an active account on sites like Yelp or Google+, there's a good chance those reviews are going to get filtered.

One of the things that I want to try to help you to do today is to identify people who are more likely to leave a review on their own - without you even asking them. To do that, we are going to go through kind of four possible starting points and I'm going to use Followerwonk for part of this process - a Moz product that's incredibly useful for a lot of different applications within local.

Reach Out to Elite Local Aggregators

To start this process, you're going to identify who the elite local accounts are in your market. Luckily both Yelp and Google+/Google My Business have human representatives in about 100 to 130 markets around the country. If you're lucky enough to be located in one of the top 100 or so metropolitan areas, it's likely that there's at least one of these people in your market.

For Yelp, these individuals are the Yelp community managers. I've already pulled a list, which may or may not be comprehensive, but there are about 125 folks on that list. That URL is going to show up at the bottom of your screen and will also show you a screenshot of who these people are. But it's a publicly available URL on my Twitter account.

Google also has these “feet on the street” that are in specific geographic markets around the country. All of their Twitter handles typically will start with something like "Googlelocal" and then the airport code for the city or an abbreviation like "GooglelocalChi" for Chicago, something like that. There's actually a very unique, custom search string that you can do to find these folks on Google+, and that URL as well as a screenshot of what this looks like will also show up on your screen in the video.

You’ll have a list of 100 or so to browse through and see which market makes sense for either your business or the businesses you're working with. That's going to give you usually two Twitter handles, something like Yelp Portland and Google Local PDX. These are your seed handles that you want to start with when you're performing your analysis for where these likely local reviewers might be.

Because these are pretty geeky accounts, they're these tech companies, only people who are sort of in the know even know that Yelp has a physical presence in Portland. Probably even fewer of them know that Google has a physical presence in Portland. The folks who are going to be following these guys are nine times out of ten going to have a very active Yelp account or a very active Google account. So if you can find somebody who's following these guys, you've got a likely reviewer for your business.

Use Followerwonk to Find Influencers

The next thing you want to do once you've got these seed handles is to use Followerwonk's Compare Users feature. This is a really awesome feature that will let you type in the three Twitter handles that you want to analyze and look at the intersection of those three accounts. I recommend starting with Yelp account closest to your market as one of the Twitter handles that you're looking at and then pick two Twitter handles for competitors of yours or even possibly your own Twitter handle to see who's interested in your product or service.

Essentially, you want to use Followerwonk's amazing technology to identify who's following not only the Yelp community manager in your town or the Google local community manager in your town, but also one or two of your biggest competitors. This is somebody who's really into your product or service and following one of these two handles so they are a very likely reviewer of your business. If you can develop a relationship with them by following them on Twitter or on Google+ or any other social network that they're on, you're likely to get them in your shop, and hopefully they will leave you a review as a result.

Bio Search in Followerwonk

I want to go through two additional steps that can help you identify these likely local reviewers. The first is the Followerwonk Bio Search. This is a great tool. It's the first tab in Followerwonk up at the top left. First, plug in your location. Then you can set a minimum number of followers - these will be people that are essentially highly visible online in your local community. You can then export that to Excel in a spreadsheet and do a search for the keyword that's related to what it is that you sell, and there you'll have another list of folks that you can potentially follow on Twitter.

Search for Hashtags

The final technique that you can use to identify these likely local reviewers is to look at the hashtag "cityexperts". These city experts are Google's version of the Yelp elite. The reason that I put this down at the bottom of the list is because - and unfortunately - Google City Experts are only in about 20 or 30 markets around the world. It's not nearly as widespread as either the Yelp community managers or the Google local “Feet on the Street” team. So it's not going to work for everybody. But if you go to Google+ or Twitter and search on this hashtag "cityexperts", you're likely to find a whole bunch of people who are again following them.

There's a final step that you can do to find these city experts which is even more complicated, but we'll show you a screenshot of how to get there. This essentially involves another site - Google+ search - where you can actually browse the guest lists of events that these Google representatives have hosted in your town. This should give you a sense for who actually are the city experts in your given town, but again, only if you're in one of these 20 or 30 markets. Obviously, from those guest lists you want to circle those people, start commenting on the things that they're posting on Google, and develop a relationship with them as an agency or as a business owner who's hoping to earn their business.


Hopefully, that process all made sense and you'll go out and start building these relationships and getting a few more reviews on your business profiles as a result. So thanks for watching and hope you found that helpful!

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