As digital marketers, our end goal is to better a brand’s online footprint by implementing efforts such as an improved website structure, sharing valuable content, investing in paid marketing efforts such as Google AdWords and call tracking, and obtaining quality links to create a better experience for prospects and search engine bots.
Over time, we hope all of these efforts will lead to increases in positive brand mentions, search rankings, traffic to a website, and conversions.
But what about “off-page” opportunities that align with these overall efforts? We know there are so many touch points before a consumer makes a purchasing decision, so how can we align our digital efforts with less technical tactics?
One of our clients voiced that a new goal for the company this year is to pivot awareness efforts to more grassroots and local influencer opportunities in order to build a stronger connection with potential new clients in the community. While brainstorming ideas and recognizing this client’s strong Yelp presence, we learned that Yelp has an exclusive group of “role-model Yelpers” in many cities who are part of a prestigious Yelp Elite Community. We then learned about Yelp Elite Events.
We connected with the Richmond, Virginia Yelp Community Manager, who recently helped our client host their first Yelp Elite Event.
Is This Something Your Business Should Consider Doing?
Let’s cover the bases on who the Yelp Elite community is and if a Yelp Elite Event is right for your business. Past Yelp Elite Event images are below (photo courtesy: Hannah K Photography and Yelp RVA) to show the different styles of events, and the community manager here in Richmond helped answer some Yelp Elite FAQs.
A Yelp Elite Event is a way for a business to showcase everything that makes them great. At this private event, members of the Elite Squad experience everything the business has to offer in a fun, unique, and private setting. Hosting a Yelp event is a great opportunity to bring a captive audience full of people who love to support local businesses into your space, to hear from you directly, and to experience your product or service firsthand.
To each business who hosts a Yelp Elite Event, Yelp provides:
- Professional photography
- A special event page on Yelp where members of the Elite Squad post their reviews
- Social media posts
- A blog post on the official Yelp blog
Elites are role-model Yelpers who “embody the spirit of Yelp.” These local tastemakers are eager to discover new businesses in their area and passionate about sharing their discoveries with others. They’re super active online and offline.
Those who are interested can nominate themselves at any time at yelp.com/elite. From there, the Elite Council will review your profile.
As for attendees at your event, if you have limited space (and budget), work with your community manager to define a set number of Elites who can attend the event.
According to Yelp, the Elite Community 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.” (highlighted portion for pull quote?)
Yelp Elites love to explore their surroundings through reviews, photos, and tips that help others discover great businesses in their neighborhoods and beyond.
Yelp is available in 32 countries, and there are more than 160 markets worldwide that have a vibrant Yelp community.
Communities with an Elite community typically host one to two Elite Events per month. Additionally, there are one to two other events each month that are open to anyone> with a Yelp profile (check yelp.com/events to find and RSVP to these).
Periodically throughout the year, Yelp communities pull out all the stops for their pièce de résistance: the Yelper Party. This is the largest open event that the Yelp Community Manager plans with the help of a variety of local businesses that come out to display their goods for the Yelp community to experience. Hundreds of excited Yelpers look forward to these events each year.
According to the Richmond Yelp Community Manager, “We love hosting events at all different types of businesses. From fitness studios to clothing boutiques, spas, restaurants, dentist offices, music venues, and raw spaces – we’ve done it all!”
As with any online platform (Reddit, Twitter, Yelp), it is beneficial to be an active user before diving in and using it as a marketing or outreach tactic. If your company does not already have an active presence on Yelp, start there. Encourage customers/patients/clients to leave reviews.
Be sure to interact and engage with reviewers.
Once you have established a presence, reach out to your local community manager and see how and when your company can host an Elite Event in your community.
Good luck and have fun!