Kelly the Culinarian: How to Get Invited to Yelp Events

Saturday, May 11, 2013

How to Get Invited to Yelp Events

Yelp's Elemental Experience at the Castle Chicago
Being part of the Yelp community has been incredibly rewarding and fun for me, mostly because I get to attend Yelp events frequently. These gatherings usually feature free food, libations, activities, swag and interesting people to networking and chat up. I've made great friends through Yelp, as well as bonded with some of my existing friends and family at these shin digs. The events are at restaurants and bars, typically, and usually only require that attendees tip (which I do generously). The idea behind these parties is for businesses to get increased exposure. I've received lots of questions in person and virtually about how one goes about getting invited to all these exclusive events.

1. Be active, honest and engaging on Yelp. Fill out your user profile, use your real name and use a photo of yourself, not your dog or your kid.

Hawaii Yelp-o at Chef Shangri-La
2. Write detailed reviews. Don't be that guy who only leaves either 1-star or 5-star reviews with two lines of text. Detail your experiences and provide constructive criticism. Don't just say "the service sucks." Instead, use your words and say you were disappointed to wait 45 minutes only to be seated next to a drafty window. Instead of saying the pizza was gross, say that the sauce was bland, the crust was soggy and the toppings were stingy.

3. Download the Yelp app and use it! I check in everywhere - the gym, work, grocery store, etc. This is a great way to remember where you've been and what you still have to review. Which brings me to ...

4. Review everything! Gas stations, libraries, parks, doctors offices, dealerships, races and events - they all get ratings and reviews, good or bad. Highlight things that you noticed and liked or things that annoyed you, like a lack of bathrooms or napkins or the nice soap in the bathroom. All these little factors add up to define a customer's experience.

5. Make friends and be friendly. Connect with your contacts on Yelp and comment on their reviews.

6. Become a Yelp Elite Squad member. This is the best way to get invited to events regularly. How do you become a Yelp Elite? Follow everything I've laid out above, then nominate yourself. It's that simple. If you're a rocking Yelper who contributes to the community, uses your real name and photo and submits stellar reviews and feedback, you have a great chance of becoming an Elite.
2013 Elite Kick Off Party at Pinstripes
7. Once you get invited to an event, follow the rules. If you RSVP, be there and be on time and only bring a guest if it says you can. While at the event, make friends, participate in the activities, upload photos using the app and basically make sure you have a great time (without being "that guy who ate all the appetizers and drank waaay too much"). Then, make sure to review the event on Yelp afterwards.

8. Be social with Yelp. Like your Yelp community on Facebook and Twitter, and comment on their posts. In many communities, Yelp hosts parties that are open to the public, all you have to do is RSVP. Their social sites are a great way to find out about these shenanigans - the Yelp Elemental Experience at the Castle Chicago was just such an event, and it was awesome!


Losing Lindy said...

This is a great post. I wonder if they have something similar for family friendly events?

KellytheCulinarian said...

In my experience, the events have been mostly 21+ shin digs.

Zenaida Arroyo said...

Great post. I've been a member for a number of months but have never checked in.

So, a stupid question here, but do you check in a every single place even if it is a place you visit every day or quite frequently?

KellytheCulinarian said...

When you check into the same place repeatedly, Yelp designates you as a regular. If you're the person who checks in the most, you become the duke/duchess of that location.

I wouldn't say I check in religiously, but I tend to check in at the gym, lunch spots and new places so I can remember to review them later.

Tam said...

Hi! I've been a yelp elite member for about six months now and I've only been invited to one event. Is this the frequency of yelp elite events? Is my community Manager supposed to invite me or can I sought out events on my own? I'd like to attend an event but don't really understand in how I can do so. Thank you.

KellytheCulinarian said...

You'll get invited by your community manager. There's a huge spectrum of activity within yelp communities, and even by manager. Some places have an event every month, some are more like every six. It just depends on how savvy and involved your community manager is.