How to Join Yelp Elite Squad

What is Yelp Elite Squad?

It’s an exclusive community of Yelp reviewers that are recognized for their contributions and invited to free local events. Yelp Elite are selected each year in an opaque process, so in this guide we’ll share with you how to join Yelp Elite and why you might want to be a part of it.

How to Join Yelp Elite Squad

Why Join Yelp Elite

Free local events

Yelp Elite regularly get invited to free, exclusive local events. Many events are at nice restaurants. Others are activities like wine tasting, karaoke, axe throwing, cooking classes, or shows. Some events even allow you to bring a plus one!

Depending on your city and your community manager, this could be once a month or more frequent. Bigger cities tend to have more events, but events also tend to fill up more quickly.

Community

You’ll be part of an active group of Yelp reviewers that go out and have fun, so you’ll have the opportunity to meet like-minded folks and make friends. In addition to the free events organized by Yelp, Yelp Elites often plan their own community events to hang out more frequently.

Yelp Elite also has community managers that organize events and help keep the community engaged.

Recognition

Yelp Elite get a shiny badge on their profiles, and their reviews stand out a bit more. Reviews take time and energy to write, so likely one of the reasons you write reviews is to feel like you’re helping others – it’s a nice touch to get recognized for your exemplary contributions.

How to Join Yelp Elite

Yelp looks for community members that are active, genuine, and helpful. In many ways, Yelp Elites are role models for other reviewers on Yelp.

That means anything that demonstrates you are a real person that interacts with the Yelp community and likes sharing honest information about local businesses will bolster your chances. Here are some specific requirements:

1. Detailed Personal Profile

Yelp wants the Elites to feel like a diverse group of real people, so your profile should contain:

  • A real photo with your face
  • Your real first name and last initial
  • Location set to your current city
  • Other details that show off your personality

You also need to be of legal drinking age in your area.

2. Quantity of Contributions

Yelp is looking for active contributors, so you’ll want to have a decent number of recent reviews and/or photos.

There isn’t a specific threshold, because the quality of your contributions are also important. Some users reported they became Yelp Elite with as few as a dozen reviews in a year, whereas others say you should shoot for 50+ in a year.

If your account does not have much history, you may need to write more reviews. Conversely, if you’ve written so many reviews that you were Yelp Elite previously, you may not need as many to continue to be eligible.

3. Quality of Contributions

Review quality is also important to being selected. Quality is subjective and can mean a lot of things, but here are good guidelines:

  • Detailed reviews – adding useful details that could be helpful for readers, not just padding your word count
  • Good writing – descriptive, easy to understand, maybe even add some flair or humor
  • Writing about less-reviewed businesses – you can imagine how sharing an opinion on a business with few reviews might be more useful than adding the 2000th review to a trendy spot
  • Follow Yelp’s terms and guidelines (should go without saying): keep reviews unbiased, focus on the actual product/service, use appropriate language, don’t plagiarize, don’t accept compensation for good ratings

4. Engage the Community

Generally show that you’re an active and upstanding member of the community. This can include:

  • Complimenting or up-voting reviews that you like
  • Commenting in the forums
  • Checking in to places
  • Adding other users as friends
  • Interacting with the Yelp community in other ways

5. Occupational Eligibility

To prevent conflicts of interest, there are just a few disqualifying factors based on where you work:

  • You cannot work for a Yelp competitor
  • You cannot be a business owner (or similar conflict of interest, such as married to the business owner)

6. Get Nominated

This is easier than it sounds, because you can nominate yourself here. But you may have more success if you’re nominated by another active Yelp user, especially a Yelp Elite.

You can be nominated once a year, and you need to be re-nominated each year.

Parting Words

In this guide, we’ve walked you through how to join Yelp Elite Squad. Perhaps the question remains, should you join Yelp Elite?

If you compare it to other review programs, such as Google Local Guides (read all about the Local Guides program here) or Tripadvisor TripCollective, Yelp Elite Squad is more selective, and comes with better perks and a stronger community. In that sense, Yelp Elite might be a more rewarding experience.

But we strongly believe that writing reviews should be driven by your desire to share your experience with others, to help them gain insight so they can make more informed decisions. Reviews should not be influenced by perks or rewards. So we would recommend you only join Yelp Elite if you love writing reviews, and just want a bit of extra recognition for the contributions you already make or want to find a community of like-minded reviewers.

Happy reviewing!

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