[Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Vy Nguyen.]
I learned about Yelp during my first year studying in U.S. This is a great app for anyone to find whatever services they need nearby their current location, along with reading honest (sometimes it can be too honest) customer reviews. Often enough, you will find reviews with a red Yelp badge next to their first name i.e. “Elite’15”. Does it mean they are cooler than you? Maybe!
I never knew about the world of Yelp Elite until 2014! One of my friends at UC Davis told me about it, while we were just drinking boba. Then, it just hit me! I WANTED TO BECOME A YELP ELITE, NOT JUST A REGULAR ELITE BUT AN INTERNATIONAL ELITE!!! I only gave myself 6 months to obtain the Yelp Elite Badge! Guess what? I got it after 3 MONTHS! Since then, I always get invitations to exclusive Yelp Elite Events and insights for brand new businesses nearby. I think this is a fun thing for any international students who are interested in food, writing, blogging and use Yelp on a regular basis to look for businesses.
So how did I do it? Below is the completely guide on how to become a Yelp Elite that I want to share it with my international fellas!
- Sign up for Yelp HERE.
- Create a profile with accurate public info.
- Download the Yelp app to your cell phone.
- Check in from your phone EVERYWHERE you go!
- Add a photo or video.
- Write reviews that YOU would want to read yourself.
- Interact with the Yelp Community.
- Connect with other Yelpers, especially your local Community Manager.
- Turn yelping into a weekly routine.
- Get nominated or nominated yourself HERE.
Just like any social media outlets, you need to create a Yelp user account. Like Facebook, you will only qualify to become a Yelp Elite if you use your REAL first and last name. They also require you to put down an email address. Keep in mind that this email address will be your primary email to receive exclusive invitations to the Elite events! So, if you were thinking of registering with your junk email, think again!
Again, your profile must reflect who you are as a REAL person! You also have to upload a photo of yourself (yes, with your face in it)! There are some questions asking about things you love, etc. Keep in mind that this is your public profile, so answer whatever you would like people to know about you.
Yelp app is available for both iPhone and Android, so you can easily download the app for your smart phone. I think using app is easier to publish reviews via phone instead of the web.
Side-note: Yelp is recommended as 1 of the best smartphone apps to have for study abroad. Read the entire list HERE.
My method during the first 3 months before I became an Elite was to literally check in EVERYWHERE! From grocery to fashion shops, from restaurants to food trucks, the quickest way to check in is to click the white star button. All nearest restaurants and shops locate nearby will appear. All you need to do is to choose the location you are going to, click to the location and “Check In”. You also have the options to share this location on your Facebook and Twitter.
When your food is served, remember to take photos. It’s just like how you are saving a whole bunch of photos of Instagram. This time, it’s for Yelp! From the interior to the set-up on the table, take PHOTOS! I usually take 3 to 5 photos for every review that I’m planning to write. You can write a caption for which food you are eating right before you post the photo.
The best advice anyone can give you to become an Elite is to BE YOURSELF. It’s true! Ask yourself the following questions:
– What specific info you usually look for when you read other people’s reviews?
– Do the previous reviews already cover your opinions?
– Do the previous reviews sound too bias?
Now it’s your turn! I usually write with specific criteria (location, services and food). I also saw some Elites write about ambivalence level, satisfaction factor, etc. So, create your own criteria! That’s the best way to show your personality in your reviews. Before submitting it, you can either delete or save as draft for later.
Under “More”, you can find plenty of options to interact with people nearby. You can like your Yelp friends’ checks in, find out nearby Yelpers who are not yet your friends, and start conversations with Yelpers in your area. This is a great way for you to not only get to know more people but also increase your popularity within the Yelp community in your area.
Under “More”, you can “Find Friends”. The app will ask for your permission to connect with your friends via Contacts or Facebook. It’s up to you to grant the permission. You can also find friends by following Step 7 without granting permission for Yelp. Lastly, don’t forget to send compliments to your friends (especially your Community Manager) once in a while!
During my first three months, I set a goal for myself – 5 reviews per week. After three months, I had at least 60 reviews! Don’t worry if you cannot stick with 5 reviews per week. Focus on the quality instead of quantity, and I’m sure that the Yelp community would appreciate that!
Towards the end of the year, you can self-nominate to become a Yelp Elite. If you have many Yelp friends, you can also ask them to nominate you to join the Yelp Squad!
If you are a registered Yelper, let’s be friend! I would love to talk about food and help you to join the Elite Squad. You can connect with my Yelp account HERE.
Good luck becoming a Yelp Elite!
About Vy Nguyen
Chào! My name is Vy (pronounced “vee”, and sound just like the letter V in the alphabet). I moved to California right after high school in 2010, and attended San Jose State University for my first two years of college. Then, I made the decision to transfer to University of California, Davis (UC Davis) to finish my Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a minor in Asian American Studies. Raised in an international environment, I lived through and experienced a lot of the struggles that international students have. That’s why you will always find me involving in something cultural and international!