I read an LA Times article discussing the great benefits of Yelp Elite status a couple of years ago. This article captivated me, and last year I became determined to obtain Yelp Elite status. I began my research on how to obtain Yelp Elite status by reviewing the Yelp website. The Yelp website 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 site. Elite-worthiness is based on a number of things, including well-written reviews, high quality tips, a detailed personal profile, an active voting and complimenting record, and a history of playing well with others.”
They do not provide you with any concrete information about how to obtain this status. I began annoying my wife by taking photos every time my wife and I went to a restaurant. I also did Yelp check-ins every time we went out. But mostly, I just started writing reviews about every business I had ever visited. I chose to really focus on the businesses that had given me positive experiences. I didn’t just stick to my locale of Raleigh, but also discussed restaurants and businesses in Napa Valley, Italy, Charlottesville, and my home town of Birmingham. Actually, the most well received review I have written is on the Trump Winery in Napa.
In addition to writing all of these reviews, I reached out to the Yelp Community Manager for Raleigh and let her know of my interest in joining the elite squad. I reached out to her after I had written around 50 reviews in a 2 month period. The community manager started following my reviews and eventually nominated me for the Elite Squad which I made in 2018.
I do not have any empirical evidence to back this up—but I think that around 50 reviews written in a year will get you there. You may be able to write less reviews and take more photos—but I am much more of a writer than a picture taker. In any event, it also just became fun to use Yelp as another writing platform. I use Quora, Yelp, and Medium as platforms to keep my writing flowing. My wife and I have a young child so I didn’t get the opportunity to take advantage of all of the Yelp Elite benefits—but they were plentiful. I could have gotten free massages, blowouts, dinners, movies, etc.