Phorest FM Episode 123: David Linde & Gayle Fulbright On Online Reputation Management & Playing Nice With Yelp!

Reviews on Facebook, Google and Yelp! can be your salon’s best friend or worst nightmare. Featuring guests Gayle Fulbright and David Linde from Headlines the Salon, this week’s episode highlights their experiences with online reputation management while also outlining tips for attracting new clients and getting existing fans to leave more reviews.

Based out of Encinitas, California, Headlines The Salon was founded in 1986. David and Gayle are strong believers in two things, specifically: education & extraordinary experiences at every visit. Headlines The Salon has been ranked as one of the top 200 salons in America for 12 years.


David Linde

David’s love for this industry began a long time ago when he was introduced to the hairdressing world at a haircutting event that a friend took him to. It was magical and artistic.

David being an artist and painter. He appreciated the creative endeavors it took to create complex pieces of art with hair so much that he went through the Apprentice Program for a whole year. Hair was not to be his vocation, as running a salon took precedence. David has been marketing and running Headlines for over 7 years, doubling the salon’s revenue and staff. He is passionate about the people in our industry and always likes to be with those who challenge him intellectually. He lives by the motto “grow yourself constantly and be the best you can be.”

Gayle Fulbright

To say Gayle loves her industry is an understatement. She became a hairdresser in 1976 and followed her passion to open her own salon in 1987. Her belief is that education has always been the key to success for Headlines.

Being recognized by Childhelp USA with the “Love of a Child” award in 2008 and having our Salon be an affiliate for Hello Gorgeous over the last 2 years, shows that our commitment to community service is one of our core values.

CEO of Headlines the Salon, Gayle also currently serves on the PBA Advisory Council and is passionate about supporting this industry.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 123. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. This week on the show we’re joined by David Linde and Gayle Fulbright, owners of Headlines, The Salon to discuss first the importance of focusing on your online reputation, but also how to play nice with Yelp!.

Killian Vigna: So grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax and join us weekly for all your salons, business and marketing needs. Good morning Zoe!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning Killian. Interesting episode! We haven’t talked about online reputation in quite a while.

Killian Vigna: I know, yeah, I think when we brought out the feature, it was all that we talked about for a couple of months, but we haven’t actually-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Until GDPR.

Introducing David Linde & Gayle Fulbright [00:49]

Killian Vigna: Until GDPR, which was the next big thing. But when we were talking about it, we always discussed like Google My Business and Facebook because that’s what’s huge over here, like I’m based in Ireland. Phorest is based in Ireland, that’s what’s big over here. But there’s a third part of the online reputation, which is Yelp!, which is something we’ve never really discussed because it’s not really something that is over this side. But I believe in America it’s huge. So recently, or was it recently? We’re talking back in May where there was the Data Driven Summit, and at that summit, we saw that there was a talk from David Linde and Gayle Fulbright from Headlines, The Salon, and what they were covering was essentially your online reputation and playing nice with Yelp!. Now we’ve already had David on the show before, and I’m sure… He was really hard to track down because he’s just become such a celebrity ever since that episode, but he has kindly brought Gayle along with him to dig down into this topic. So Dave, Gayle, welcome to the show!

David Linde: Hi, Killian. Hey Zoe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Hey, guys!

Gayle Fulbright: Hey, thank you for doing this. This is a fun subject.

David Linde: Yeah it’s very exciting for us to talk in Atlanta about this subject because we are very passionate about Yelp!, that’s for sure.

Killian Vigna: So is this the first time that you have done a talk on this subject? At Data Driven; was that the first time you covered it?

Gayle Fulbright: No, Salon Today also had the Salon Digital Summit last-

David Linde: November.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: November.

Gayle Fulbright: Fall.

David Linde: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: And we were able to do it that for the first time there, and it went over so well that we got to bring it back to Atlanta’s Data Driven Summit.

Killian Vigna: So now at this stage, you’re getting royalties from Yelp!?

David Linde: Paying us handsomely.

Gayle Fulbright: I want to make a disclaimer because we were asked: “Are you paid by Yelp!” Or “Are you an elite member?” Which we’ll talk about later. And the answer is no. It’s just we’re paid in a way that we do get a lot of new clients. One day just preparing for this last Wednesday we had 12 new guests, and we always ask where they come from, they get a tour and stuff. And we had six out of the 12 not referrals, not Instagram, but were Yelp! / Google. So that’s how important it is. And that’s how we get paid, so to speak. Right? From the client.

Killian Vigna: Well that’s the beauty of like when companies build great products or platforms or anything like that. Because if you build it so well, you will eventually have ambassadors for your product. And this is exactly what you two are doing now. Like they’re not paying you. I know we kind of joke about that, but for what they’ve done for your business, you’ve now gone on to do talks about this, to share the message about that.

Gayle Fulbright: Yeah.

David Linde: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: You’re almost missing the boat if you don’t do it. That’s the way I look at it.

David Linde: Yeah. The whole thing about Yelp! is that it brings in, it can bring in so much revenue just by working it, and doing the things that you need to do to get people in the door.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, I suppose it’s being smart about how you use it as well. You know?

David Linde: Absolutely.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So before we get into it too much, right? And David, you’ve been on the show with us in January, and we challenged you to do a 30-second elevator pitch, which you nailed. But Gayle, this is your first time on the show. So what about like a little introduction as to your background, how you came into the industry and stuff like that.

Gayle Fulbright: Yeah, my 30-second pitch! I’ve been a hairdresser for over 40 years. I know it’s scary to think of that. But I’m proud of it. So I started as a hairdresser back in the Midwest in Michigan. I moved out to California in 1987. I opened Headlines for Hair, which we ran for 25 years and grew, blew out of our space. And we moved over and changed it to Headlines, The Salon at that time. And we’re now proud to have 40 employees, 40 plus employees. We are in California, which is a very, let’s call it… independent, focused environment where there’s a lot of studios, and suites, and booth rental. And I’m proud to say we have a strong culture that’s really maintained an employee base. Our focus is community, our focus is education, and our focus is a family type environment. So we’re unique, I guess, a little an anomaly in the environment out here in California. But that’s the way we do it. And today, July 1st is actually our 33rd anniversary of being in business.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh well jeez, congratulations!

Killian Vigna: Wow! Happy Anniversary, congratulations! You kept that one quiet when we were doing the back and forth for this episode. Yeah. When we picked the day. That’s why they settled for Monday. Congratulations. That’s great to hear!

Gayle Fulbright: Thank you!

Killian Vigna: So 33 years of business and the last 12 years, or well it’s going to be 13 years now, you’ve actually been in Salon Today’s top 200 salons. You’ve been in their top 200 salons for the last 12 years. So I know today we’re talking about Yelp!, but surely there has been some other secrets that you’re doing right to be able to keep that title for so long?

Gayle Fulbright: Well, being a Salon Today 200 honouree is actual honour, and it’s great to be in that family because you’re around the top of the top, the best of the best. And it’s not about bragging rights that we were top 200. It’s great for the team to feel part of that and to keep it going. They have 11 categories. And throughout the year we stop and we analyse what might be a great subject to work on. For instance, we’re doing a big thing of philanthropy, which is a category about cool caps.

Which is a product that you wear when you’re going through chemo to save your hair. So it’s a fundraiser we’ll do. The other thing we focus on is customer service, which Phorest has been a great help, of course — and having those reviews and what we do with it with callbacks and things like that. And I love our Monday morning reports.

David Linde: Yeah, those are always amazing.

Gayle Fulbright: We literally wait and do [inaudible] the weather. It’s like wooh, look!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Waiting in front of the computer, refreshing the email tab.

Gayle Fulbright: But the top 200 is great for attracting new hires. And it’s a little bit of a bragging rights, but when someone’s searching for a salon, it’s nice to say, “Yep, we’ve been in there.” We’ve entered 13 times in won 12, so it’s never a guarantee.

The main channels defining a business’ online reputation [07:30]

Killian Vigna: So we’ve already mentioned that you did a talk, back in May this year. You were discussing the importance of your online reputation, and more specifically, Yelp!. Let’s take this one step at a time here when we talk about online reputation. The first channels that come to mind for me are Facebook and Google. Right? Is that what we’re limiting ourselves to? Or do we have more? Is there more to your online reputation here?

David Linde: Well, I think everybody goes to Facebook and Google right away. I think, like you said, we think that the biggest opportunity is utilising Yelp!, which is pretty big over here in the States. And that’s the other channel that we focus on.

Gayle Fulbright: Facebook and Google are not going anywhere. But it’s nice to cross-check between all of them.

David Linde: Yes.

Gayle Fulbright: And I find a lot of times you can Google something and Google pulls up Yelp!’s, all their data. Isn’t that kind of crazy?

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: So if you don’t have a lot of reviews… We’re blessed, or we worked really hard. We have like 395 reviews on Yelp! that does generate Google traffic a little bit. So it’s not something to be ignored.

Killian Vigna: The reason I started with Facebook and Google My Business as the online reputation is that in Ireland, that’s all I really see. I never really see Yelp!. But in saying that, most of this show’s listeners are based in America. While you don’t have to tell them what Yelp! is, can you tell me or give me a bit of insight into Yelp! and how it works for your online reputation?

David Linde: Well, I think the reason we utilise Yelp! so much is because it’s the Pinterest of review sites. There’s so much information on there from pictures to information about phone numbers, where they’re at, maps, etc. All of us here in the States tend to utilise that as a quick find of where we want to go. As well as the second thing is, you have an opportunity to have a conversation through Yelp!. People message us all the time about how much are haircuts, when can I get in? Where are you located? It’s an amazing conversation app as well.

Gayle Fulbright: Good point what David said was, there’s an opportunity where you can message on Yelp! and we have a full-time girl, our director Brittany handling it. And I get ‘ding,ding!’, notified from Yelp! whenever anybody either does a review or requests an appointment. We get a couple of appointments a day coming through Yelp!.

David Linde: More than a couple.

Gayle Fulbright: And it was funny, a salon owner once said to me, she goes, “Well isn’t that annoying?” I’m going, “It’s kind of like hearing the cash register, ‘ding, ding.’ It’s not a bad thing!”

David Linde: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: But back to David’s point about Pinterest, we are the number two searched-

David Linde: Industry.

Gayle Fulbright: Business in industry and Yelp!. Number one, of course, is restaurants, but number two is beauty business. And you have this great opportunity to post pictures, and clients can post pictures and that… If I’m out looking for a hair salon, which I was when I was in Dublin, we’ll tell that story later. We get to see their work. It’s kind of like supporting your Instagram, and I pull a lot of the pictures from my Instagram to put on Yelp! periodically. And people get to see what you do, and you get to attract your ideal client that way. Not necessarily someone that doesn’t know your work. We put a lot of blondes, we’re in California, on our page and so it attracts a lot of blondes. It’s another way of just promoting, I guess.

A look into Yelp! when used for salons and spas [11:30]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So when I was chatting to Connor about getting you back on the show and talking about Yelp!, he was saying that essentially Yelp! in some ways acted a bit like a marketplace. What’s your take on this and how does it actually work for you guys to keep in control, I suppose. Because often, marketplaces are damaging more than anything in the long term. How do you keep control over what you’re actively putting out on Yelp! and what you’re getting back from it? Do they take a cut? Like how does it work really?

Gayle Fulbright: There are a couple of different ways you can work Yelp!, and a lot of Yelp!… Yelp! gets a bad rap from a lot of people because they think that people are constantly soliciting them to pay for Yelp! ads. You can and you should if you don’t already have a little presence on it. But for us, now that we’ve gotten to the point of having a lot of reviews, I probably spend two hours a week on putting up my pictures, answering reviews, going back in and changing it up a little bit. I speak a lot. I call Yelp! myself instead of waiting for them to call me, I call them and ask them, “So how’s my page looking?” Setting up your page is so important. And that’s what Connor kind of heard us say. A lot of people just have their businesses up there, and they ignore it. And a bad review will be up there, and nobody will respond, or a great review and you don’t respond, which is just as bad.

But responding to bad reviews and turning them around is kind of like a game for me. It’s a lot of fun because number one, if someone says something negative about your business, you take it personal, kind of like a baby, “Don’t.” If you really listen to what they’re saying and you can make a positive change in your business and then have them come back and write a positive review, that’s golden. And you as a consumer reading that, it says this business cares. So managing it, if you can put an hour aside every week and to do it, it’s a marketing tool.

David Linde: As well as I think it’s like a social media tool as well because you can talk back and forth, and the consumer sees that communication that you have between the owner and the client. And they can see that you really care about your business and you really care what they’re talking about. I think it’s super important and super relevant to why we use Yelp!.

Killian Vigna: Well, like you said just earlier that it’s kind of like a social media platform and you can direct message. So initially what I was thinking is that your profile is up there. It’s your basic contact information, and more than likely it’s going to be they telephone you or they send you an email. And we all know the story with emails. You receive, how many emails a day that you just can’t, it’s clutter. It’s like you just, no matter how hard you try, it’s almost impossible to get through all those emails. But that direct messaging then brings me back to like Facebook messenger, so is it more kind of that approach to it then? And you have someone in the salon; you have the Yelp! page open, they just come through as live messages then.

David Linde: Correct!

Gayle Fulbright: Well, you have a note notification on your phone so it just kind of like I said earlier, it’ll notify you with a little ‘ding, ding!’ so that you know to answer it right away.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: And I have visited other pages and other, the competition in town. And if the response rate… Let’s say I’m in town, I want a blowout, and the response rate on someone else’s page says two days. They’ve lost me. On ours, it’s 10 minutes.

Killian Vigna: Because you need it now.

David Linde: Yeah, yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: Exactly. So that’s where managing it and having that opportunity that Yelp! provides for you to do that. They call it a banner, and we do pay a minimum charge. It’s under a hundred dollars a month to keep this banner, and it gets the notifications, it also gives us this opportunity to post up the pictures that we want and to be active with it.

David Linde: Yeah. It also gives us the opportunity to post a video on there, which is a tour of our salon. Super-

Killian Vigna: I’ve seen that video. That’s a great video.

David Linde: Yeah. Well, thank you.

Gayle Fulbright: But wouldn’t you love a sneak peek of the place you’re going to have dinner at or whatever? I have a favourite Dublin story if I could tell it.

David Linde: Go for it.

Gayle Fulbright: So when we were in town for the conference which was brilliant by the way, thank you. David and I, we were walking down the street, and we decided, well let’s get dinner. So we walked by this restaurant looked in, was beautiful, the menu was sitting outside, looked good, and David goes, “I dunno, it’s empty.” I went… And I’m on my phone; I’m Yelping in Ireland.

Killian Vigna: Standing outside the restaurant.

Gayle Fulbright: It has great reviews. And so I’m looking at the pictures going, “I could eat anything that I’m looking at right now.” And then David and I looked at each other and went, “Oh, we’re so American. It’s only like 7:30 no wonder it’s empty.” Because people eat later in Europe than they do here in the states, so by the time we decided to go in… Because of the reviews, by the time we were getting our main course, the place was full because here it is a little bit later. So if it weren’t for Yelp!, we would have passed by.

David Linde: Yeah. Would have never gone in.

Gayle Fulbright: So it’s one of those double-check systems I guess. A friend can tell you it’s good, but you might not like what they eat.

Killian Vigna: The thing I thought was funniest about that was you stood outside the restaurant, you looked at the menu, but you still had to go and check out their online. Which is exactly what this episode is all about. That no matter how many friends or family tell you about it, or you could physically be there, you still need that social authority from people you don’t know.

Gayle Fulbright: Exactly.

Killian Vigna: It’s funny like isn’t it? But that’s the way it is now.

David Linde: [inaudible 17:44] culture now is that that’s what we do. We look at our phone for all kinds of things. One of the biggest things we look at is pictures and more information about something.

Gayle Fulbright: The new marketing is Instagram too, and Facebook, you can’t get around it. And Instagram is kind of… We all brag, and Facebook nobody’s ever sad. They’re always happy.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: Your reviews, so to speak, your page on Instagram better match up with what the public says with Google and Yelp! or else who do you believe? Because you can make yourself look really good on Instagram, but can you-

David Linde: Deliver.

Gayle Fulbright: The thing about Yelp! and Google, you get honest reviews.

How online reputation management plays a role in Headlines, The Salon’s success [18:27]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So we’ve already mentioned you’ve been a Salon Today 200 salon for 13 years now. How long have you been focusing on generating reviews? Like what does your strategy look like? Because I know you guys joined Phorest, you were loving the online reputation manager, and we even have like a YouTube video of you guys talking about it. So has this been more of a recent focus? And how do you balance the three out Google, Facebook, Yelp!? How do you work that altogether?

David Linde: Well, I think that we have been focused on it for the past several years. We always have been, we’ve always known that reviews are a huge part of our business and super important for our business. I think getting Phorest a couple of years ago really solidified that with the Online Reputation Manager. It showed us how important those three categories work, Google, Facebook, and Yelp!. So it really brought to the surface how important those categories were for us. So we really wanted to focus more on Google and Yelp! to help our business grow more.

Gayle Fulbright: The great thing about Google with Phorest is like we mentioned before, is to make sure you have a conversation back.

David Linde: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: If someone gives you a five star… Go in, use their name, mention something about their experience and make that conversation because people love to read not only what the client is saying but how the owners-

David Linde: Response is.

Gayle Fulbright: Response is because of it kind of shows a little snapshot of the culture. And if you’re nice online people are going to think you’re nice in person.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And hopefully you are!

Gayle Fulbright: [inaudible 20:17] Hopefully it matches up. And the same if you get a bad review, to manage that with dignity and with respect and not come across like you’re in a fistfight with someone just because they said something bad about your business.

David Linde: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: You go back in, and you look like you respond like you’d want to in a face-to-face kind of situation.

David Linde: Yeah. I think that’s been our strategy is just to really communicate and like Gayle says, to really talk back and forth to your clients and make sure that they’re understanding that this is a social thing for you, to really be in communication with. And it’s not just a review that’s going to be posted, and that’s it. You’re never going to hear from us again. So that’s been one of our strategies is to be in communication with all of our reviews.

Killian Vigna: Well there’s two ways to look at that, I suppose. Your saying, “Oh yeah, come into the salon will give you a great client experience or a customer experience. We’ll be really friendly with you.” But then the minute they leave the salon, they’ve gone out of their way to write a lovely review for you, and you haven’t bothered to say thank you or-

David Linde: Correct.

Killian Vigna: Just even drop a line. So it’s like saying, “Oh yeah, we’ll be one person when you’re in the salon but then the minute you leave, now we’ve kind of moved on.” So something as simple as saying thank you shows that you’ve really gone out of your way after hours then to keep that communication going. And then if someone leaves that one bad review, we all know there’s someone who just had a bad day or the experience just wasn’t for them. So I think how you respond to that is better than getting defensive, I suppose. “Well you didn’t like the service because this or that and the other.” Don’t get defensive. Just kind of flat it out. Give yourself another opportunity to amend it. Like you were saying Gayle, you look at it as a game.

Gayle Fulbright: Exactly.

David Linde: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: The nice thing about Yelp! is there’s two ways to respond and do it publicly and privately. And I always say if you have a not so good review, respond privately first and you say whatever you need to say, this would be the time you might offer something for them to come back in free. Publicly you don’t want to offer, “I’m going to give you your money back.” Because then you’re going to get those strange people that are going to take advantage of that. So responding both ways is huge. And then that way you know you can get your point across to these people that you do care.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: How do you manage that with Google? I don’t believe that you can privately message those people. Right?

Gayle Fulbright: Right.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So how do you manage that? You’re using the three platforms anyways, so you probably have run into that.

Gayle Fulbright: We have, and that’s where I like Yelp! better because you can respond. But with Google, you have your information because when the guest comes in you have them fill out a profile, and so you call them, the old fashioned way where people don’t pick up. You call them, and you text them, or you address it that way. But that’s the nice thing about Yelp! is you can have that two-way conversation going on. That’s a little bit different. Same thing as Facebook, they don’t seem to really respond back. We might apologise, but then it’s, you get crickets.

David Linde: And I think that’s interesting about Yelp! is the fact that it’s such, like I was talking about earlier, it’s such a social thing anymore that people do for some reason feel comfortable messaging back and forth on Yelp!. And so they feel like it’s a great way to communicate versus Google or Facebook. Somehow for us when we try to get back with people on Google or Facebook, they don’t seem to respond as much as they do with Yelp!.

Using Yelp! for other reasons than reviews [23:58]

Killian Vigna: So other than having a platform to I suppose, showcase reviews to attract new clients, have you utilized Yelp! to say attract new employees? Or have you found Yelp! kind of attribute anything towards your business in other ways than new clients?

Gayle Fulbright: Right now, millennials and Gen-Z’s are big for the hair industry. That’s the kids that are coming out of school, and on the last, I’m going to say last three interviews that I just had, I said, I always ask, “How did you hear about us?” They go, “Oh, well I saw you on Instagram, I checked out your Yelp!, and then I checked out your website. After I checked out the website, I went deeper and checked out a stylist.” And then on our website, we have their Instagram.

It’s kind of like you almost need to have all three connect and speak the same language. But it has been huge with us attracting new talent. And I don’t know, a salon out owner out there that doesn’t want new employees.

Right? So they’re savvy these days. They’re looking at all the different platforms before they send in a resume or come in person and interview with us. So it does make a difference in what the clients are saying. They want to work at a place that looks like they care and is cool. So it does help attract new stylists.

Killian Vigna: Absolutely. If you see any company or any business that has great reviews, you want to be part of that. No one wants to be part of the business that gets slated the whole time online. It’s just natural.

David Linde: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: Or get an award. So that’s been a huge draw for us and, and it’s great to attract the top talent that way.

David Linde: Yeah. Another way that Yelp! has helped us is by having us involved in a Yelp! elite event, which Gayle was instrumental in creating with our Yelp! representative.

Gayle Fulbright: Yeah. Following these elites, which are pretty… what I call the social influencers of Yelp!. They are people that, there’s even a banner if you look on people’s reviews… If they’re an elite and it tells you how many years they’ve been elite, how many reviews they’ve written, how many friends. There’s like a community they have and how many photos they do. So Yelp! has nurtured this elite group. And I reached out to him, and I said, we’d like to host a party. And they’re like, “Okay.” And so here’s what was really cool. They invited all the people, and had the busy bus come to the salon, and they started at 60, and we had to bump it up to 75 people to come in. They partnered with food. They brought in the food. We had a local wine guy that had just opened up a little wine bar, and we said, “Would you like to pour some wine?”

He goes, “Yeah. So that I can get some Yelp! reviews. Of course, I’ll do it for free.” David knew a local guitar player. So we had an event, which was great. An hour and a half, 75 people in the door. We got to do a “We’ll show you how to do your own hair” event. Like we showed them how to curl, and how to braid, how to do their brows. They ate, drank. They were happy. And guess what? They wrote reviews. And they’re not going to write a bad review because they didn’t have a bad experience. Right? So having that squad come in for an hour and a half was really-

David Linde: Amazing!

Gayle Fulbright: One of the best marketing things we’ve done all year. I had a chance to meet and talk to each one of them, and we did a little video. I’d love to share some time with you because we decided why not videotape this? Only one out of the 75 people had ever been in our doors before. Now I mentioned we’ve been in business over 30 years. That’s crazy. When you have all those new guests come in, you can’t get marketing like that anywhere else.

Killian Vigna: So these elite people are they almost like Yelp!’s version of bloggers and Instagram’s influencers, but they’re local to your area, is that right?

Gayle Fulbright: Exactly.

David Linde: Correct.

Gayle Fulbright: They only invite people from San Diego, so they’re in our area, and they are, I kind of kiddingly call it the influencers. And when they write a review, their review goes to the top of your page because they’re very active. So sometimes people go, “I don’t like Yelp!. My client just wrote a review, and it got buried.” Well, that’s because it was the first time. They haven’t created their own profile. They’ve never written a review before. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s just the way things are. So Yelp! does filter, but they don’t do it because they’re trying to hold you hostage. They do it because the people that write reviews and write honest reviews, not always five stars, are the ones that get put up on the top of your page.

David Linde: Yeah, Yelp! actively supports its community that really is engaging in Yelp!. So they write a lot of reviews. They post a lot of pictures. They actively, honestly talk about their experience. And that’s what Yelp! really supports.

Killian Vigna: It’s like having like your food critic or your cinema critic, this is your salon critic essentially.

Gayle Fulbright: It is, it is. And we had one of the guests that was at that elite party we threw write a four-star. And then he wrote this whole paragraph and savvy readers read through. They don’t just look at stars. It’s not about the stars. And I couldn’t really find out why he only did a four-star because he bragged about his entire experience. But he was still honest. Maybe he’s tough; five’s a lot. So it’s not about the stars. It’s about what you read. And then sometimes you’ll get someone that’ll do a bad review, and you read through it, and you go: “They’re just crazy.” People are smart. They can read through it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh yeah, definitely. You can see through those kinds of messages anyways. Yeah. So guys, if anyone listening to this episode doesn’t really know or has a handle on their online reputation at the moment and wants to get stuck into it, what are the first steps or like a good recipe to take advantage of that good reputation that you have but it’s not online just yet?

Gayle Fulbright: Well, the first thing is to capture your page. Make sure that you are active, and all your information’s up to date.

David Linde: Yeah.

Gayle Fulbright: What your business hours are. Like if you have a holiday coming up, make sure you put on there that you’re closed. Put in your top pictures. I move my pictures around all the time to keep it current so that if somebody looked a year ago, it doesn’t look like the same page. But capturing that page and making sure all the facts are current. You can also if you’re starting out, maybe you will want to do some ads for a while. They do work. And then the last thing is to make sure you respond to good, bad, or ugly.

David Linde: Yeah. I think one of the things that you, the most important thing Gayle touched upon is really building your brand on that page. Make sure that you’re representative of yourself and your business really well because that’s what the first thing people are going to look at.

Gayle Fulbright: Show your culture.

Killian Vigna: Well guys, that’s absolutely brilliant! And thanks so much for sharing some light onto Yelp! because for a while it’s just been a mystery to me. The one thing I think I took away from you is to be active on it. Or what was it you said? It’s the Pinterest of online reviews. I thought that was brilliant because instantly I see visuals as opposed to empty contact cards where it’s like, no image, phone number, email address. That’s it. So keep it built up.

David Linde: Yes.

Gayle Fulbright: Work it.

David Linde: Work it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Thanks for taking the time.

David Linde: Anytime for Phorest, anytime. Thank you so much.

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [32:21]

Killian Vigna: So that was David Linde and Gayle Fulbright talking about the online reputation and more importantly, playing nice with Yelp!. So if you are a listener in America, it sounds like it might be an opportunity to check that one out there for you to help grow your business, especially focusing on the reviews. And the thing I liked was the elite Yelpers or the Yelp! elite club. Google has a similar version where it’s people who regularly review. So that’s a really good idea to kind of invite those guys into your salon and see how you get on.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, like what I took from it is to be smart with it. Like David and Gayle said, like they don’t spend money on ads. They only use it as a community platform to reply to reviews and to make sure that online reputation aspect of it is taken care of. So yeah, that was my main takeaway.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, like it’s similar to marketing, no matter what channel you use, make sure that it’s relevant to your business. Don’t just put your business on all these different channels and platforms for the sake of it, just to get the name there. If it’s going to be an empty card, if it’s not going to be used, it’s going to be pointless essentially. So if you do decide you want to create a Google My Business account or Facebook account, a Yelp! account, you need to update it and get people using it as well. Engagement.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And if we move on to what is our second part, I don’t know if we call it that anymore. I know Killian, you’ve been thinking of renaming this part, but let’s jump into it with Phorest Academy, I suppose.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. We probably won’t do it in this episode, but we’ll find a nicer way to introduce this eventually. So what we have is we have the Phorest Academy it’s the early access launch of our Phorest Academy. Your one-stop education shop. So what is it? It’s an online learning portal full of fun, interactive and bite-sized self-taught training courses covering every area of your Phorest system. So you can do interactive online and on-demand training.

You can learn on the go with our downloadable app. You’ll have a library of regularly updated and added courses, interactive Phorest systems and most importantly a Phorest Academy certificate. So if you are interested in enrolling into the Phorest Academy and checking it out, email or, and say Phorest Academy. It will find me somehow, and we’ll get you up and running.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And then very much in tune with this episode coming up on Monday, July 8th, so next week at 3:00 pm UK, Ireland time or 10:00 am US eastern time. We have an Online Reputation Webinar. So from building a wealth of five-star Google reviews to managing how clients treat, react and rate your business online. This webinar is not to be missed. It’s an hour-long, and you can sign up very easily just through the link in this episode’s show notes.

Other than that, we have like Abigail Walsh was saying last week the conscious hair and beauty event in the UK in London taking place on Sunday, August 18th. And the theme is sustainability in the salon industry and personal wellness. The tickets are now on sale. You can head over to the link in this episode’s show notes once again. And two last things, the Salon Management Course, which is a six-week online program hosted by Valerie Delforge, and the Salon Mentorship Hub, which is a place to connect.
So if you’re struggling with anything at all in the salon and you want to have a chat with a coach or consultant on this topic, you can book a 15 to 30-minute free consultation with one of the mentors collaborating with us on the Hub. So for any of those two, check out the links in the episode’s show notes. And well, that’s all we got for this week guys. So as always, if you want to share your thoughts on this episode or have any suggestions at all, send us an email at Or leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We genuinely love feedback and are always looking for ways to improve the show.

Otherwise, have a wonderful week and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Related links

Headlines, The Salon (Website)

Watch the Online Reputation Management webinar

Register for the 6-Week Salon Management Course hosted by Business Strategist Valerie Delforge

Book a free 15-30 minute consultation on The Salon Mentorship Hub 


This episode was edited and mixed by Audio Z: Great music makes great moments. Montreal’s cutting-edge post-production studio for creative minds looking to have their vision professionally produced and mixed. Tune in every Monday for a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars or events you can join.

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