What is the Yelp Elite Squad, and do I have what it takes to join?

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LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 20: A general view of the Yelp booth the 28th annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 20, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for Nightclub & Bar Media Group)

(ABC4) – Sarah L. (as she is known on the popular social media platform, Yelp) says she began posting reviews and adding pictures to the site in her free time in 2020.

Within two weeks, Sarah says she received an email asking her to be an Elite, and she was named one soon after.

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Do you enjoy supporting local businesses through Yelp reviews? Are your reviews especially informative in helping people discover new things in your city?

Then you may have the potential to also join the Yelp Elite Squad or ‘YES!’.

Yelp is a popular social media platform that allows users to rate, post, and read reviews about businesses such as restaurants, salons, dry cleaning, etc.

And it rewards members of its Elite Squad with certain perks like invites to exclusive “local events and meetups,” according to Yelp. The events involve getting a behind-the-scenes look at top-rated businesses in the area.

Sarah L. says that she has taken advantage of the Elite Events, which only Yelp Elites are invited to.

“The most memorable ones were at Flake Pie Co. and Local Cookie Co., where we were given free pies and cookies, I liked that the owners/managers were there to help us and talk to us,” she says.

She says that there were virtual events during COVID-19 where Elites could go pick up a box of supplies and join a class over Zoom. There was a class to learn how to make poké and a charcuterie board class, she says.

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“Yelp has something for everyone,” she says.

The Yelp Elite Squad is a yearly program. Members receive an Elite badge on their profile page that turns gold after five years of being an Elite and black after ten years.

To be considered for membership, users can nominate themselves or a friend for the squad through the site or app. After the year membership is up, users must re-nominate themselves if they wish to be considered for membership in the squad again.

But what do you need to become inducted into the squad? First, you must meet a few requirements, Yelp states.

  • Use your real name on Yelp
  • Include a clear photo of yourself in your profile
  • Must be of local legal drinking age

Additionally, you must agree that you are not a business owner, affiliated with a business owner, managing a Yelp Business account, or working for a Yelp competitor.

Members of the Elite Squad cannot accept handouts in exchange for reviews or use their position for gain.

Next, your content should be up to snuff. According to Yelp, great squad members have thoughtful reviews and awesome photos, send compliments, and up-vote reviews. Users can vote that a review is useful, funny, or cool.

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Sarah says she received the advice to “keep up with reviews, try to add pictures, and go ‘compliment’ other people’s reviews or mark them as useful.”

She says she passed on this advice to a friend who she recently nominated to be an Elite. Sarah says she notices that she is always thinking of things to say in her next Yelp review when she goes out to a new place.

Yelp states, “The Yelp Elite Squad is our way of recognizing people who are active in the Yelp community and role models on and off the Yelp site. Elite-worthiness is based on a number of things, including well-written reviews, high quality photos, a detailed personal profile, and a history of playing well with others.”

Membership in the squad may be revoked if users don’t follow Yelp’s Terms of Service, Content Guidelines, or Elite Terms of Membership. Visit the Yelp Elite Squad page for more information.

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