BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The popular online site that has been connecting people and places for more than a decade is driving shoppers to local businesses.
Yelp.com has added a special feature that is helping entrepreneurs succeed, and customers are cashing in on some big deals.
Business owners know being connected to their communities is critical to promoting their products and services. Websites like Yelp.com keep them and readers current.
Community Manager for Yelp Baton Rouge, Rebecca Whyte, searches and selects local businesses and adds their profiles to the web site.
"These business owners know their customers," Whyte said.
New to the site is an Ultimate Holiday Guide for Baton Rouge. It features several different categories of services, gives visitors a list of businesses, a map to the location, and offers reviews and discounts.
"Sometimes, when you check into a business, there is a check in offer that you can take advantage of. I push and tell businesses to use Yelp and an online coupon where people can access it via their cell phone," Whyte said.
Owner of The Beauty Bar, Kirk Sheets, said Yelp has played a big role in helping him transition his salon to Baton Rouge.
"I was in Geismar and brought people here, and we did it through social media. It's been fantastic for us. It really puts you out in front of everyone else," Sheets said.
The app also caters to shoppers looking for a specific item, or those who want to customize for a special occasion.
Owner of Les Amis Bake Shoppe, Stephanie Hansen, said out-of-the-box ideas are her specialty.
"They're generally looking for something where they can't just walk into another store and buy something off of a shelf," Hansen said.
Massage Therapist, Rebecca Brumfield, centers her business on helping her clients feel better. As Owner of Vida Pura Spa, Brumfield, tailors her touch to fit her clients' needs.
"Whether it's somebody suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, a recent car accident, whiplash or sinus headache, or a migraine, it's about what they need that day," Brumfield said.
Vida Pura is donating 25 percent of its holiday profits to the non-profit, Trafficking Hope, which helps victims of human trafficking.
Small business owners admit being at the helm of a small business can be challenging, but if word of mouth is the best form of advertising, they said Yelp has helped them tremendously.
Here is the link to the Yelp Shops Local: Ultimate Holiday Guide - http://bit.ly/YSLBRHolidayGuide.
Yelp Events: http://yelp.com/events/baton-rouge