Did you know: 92 percent of consumers who use consumer online review sites say they usually make a purchase after visiting Yelp — and most the time they do so within the same week.
The Yelp Elite Squad and their reviews are a huge part of that! The Elite community is the heart and soul of Yelp, and Yelp Elites typically write our best, most-read reviews, motivating consumers to book appointments, step into businesses and keep their money in the local economy.
With this in mind, we sought to pick the brains of our Yelp Elite Squad members about their writing process, and more than 850 Yelp Elites from across the United States and Canada responded to our survey.
Looking to up your review game, perhaps to get that “Elite” icon on your reviews? Check out what Yelp Elites had to say about how and why they write.
Remember the “why” behind reviews: helping others
By far, Yelp Elites’ biggest motivation is to give back to local businesses with honest feedback and to give back to the Yelp community by helping steer users in the right direction. Add in a desire to spread city pride, celebrate experiences and create a log of where they’ve been (similar to having a blog), and you have the makings of Yelp Elite reviews. Plus, it’s fun to write reviews!
I write reviews to share information that I’d want if I was looking and to help people find unexpected spots. There is so much to explore and enjoy within a short distance, and I want to help others find adventure right here.
— Anita S, Orange Park, Fla.
Use details to show, not tell
What was true in your high school English class is still true today: Show, don’t tell. Don’t just say that a business was “good” or “bad” — use details to paint a picture of your experience.
Customer service tops the list of helpful descriptors, as well as ambiance, cleanliness, overall quality, cost, wait times, parking, location, names of helpful staff and any stand-out factors. Include all aspects of your experience, not just one thing, like only the food your ordered.
If you have a particular perspective to share — as a parent, vegetarian, LGBTQ, gluten-free eater, part of a large group, etc. — that can be helpful to include as well.
As a disabled Yelp Elite, I am first and foremost known as writing from a disability perspective. … I also give strong consideration to customer service, quality of service/product and who is most likely to appreciate the business.
— Richard P, Indianapolis
Keep readers engaged by telling a story
To keep reviews creative and fun, write a review as if you’re talking about your experience with a friend. Make it conversational, honest and full of your personality. It also helps to envision your review as if you’re telling a story.
Some other tips for keeping eyeballs on your reviews: Re-read and edit before hitting “Post Review.” Use humor, but steer clear of sarcasm and inside jokes.
I try to keep it personal so it’s like them sitting down with me and saying, “Tell me what you thought?” … I want to offer details so they know what to expect and how they can personalize the experience for themselves.
— Etienne B, Louisville
Check emotions before writing negative reviews
Yelp Elites don’t relish writing negative reviews, so many said they ask themselves if the poor experience was due to one bad night or something bigger. To get to the heart of this, many try to visit a business multiple times and, most importantly, bring issues to management first and give them a chance to respond.
Be constructive with criticism, not mean. Don’t write a review out of anger; take some time to calm down. And stick to the facts, not emotions.
Did I give them an opportunity to make it right in person? … My mom always told me to make sure anything I said about anyone behind their back was something I’d be willing to repeat to their face. I think that holds true with reviews.
— Anna B, Minneapolis
Check in to keep track of businesses to review
Want to make sure you don’t forget a review to write? Yelp Elites like to keep a running list by checking in on Yelp. Yay to bonus check-in offers as well! Some Yelp Elites also bookmark businesses to save them to a “To Review” Collection.
It helps to review a business within 24-48 hours of visiting. Take photos. A list of places you’ve checked out on Yelp is also available if you click on “Write A Review.”
Checking in on the Yelp app! I have a few friends that make fun of me for always wanting to “check-in,” but seriously, it is so helpful. This is especially true if I visited a place out of town and would otherwise forget it.
— Juliet A, Washington, D.C.
Use downtime as a consistent time to write
Some Yelp Elites’ favorite times to review include before bed or when waking up, during the commute, on lunch breaks or — gasp! — while procrastinating at work.
Others set aside time to write reviews on their calendars. It can be a cathartic way to reflect on the week before the next week starts.
As a first time parent of a one-year-old, it is very challenging to consistently write reviews … but I try to find time when the baby is sleeping or if I have some downtime during a lunch break. Writing on Yelp is my “me time” that I value.
— Danny K, Chicago
Photos can help you remember details
Photos are huge when it comes to keeping details fresh. Yelp Elites snap away by taking pics of food, interiors, exteriors, menus, items for sale, services done on their homes and more. They also use these to jog their memories when it comes time to write reviews, as well as posting them with their reviews with helpful captions.
Another pro tip: Open up a new review for a business on Yelp, and take some notes while you’re still at the business. Yelp will keep the unpublished reviews in Drafts, so you can go back and refine before hitting “post.”
When inspiration comes, jot it down. Often times, I’ll have a couple of unfinished reviews. There are bits and pieces of notes I place there to later elaborate when I have time.
— Cindy W, Walnut, Calif.
Yelp is more than restaurants plus other tips
Some parting tips from the Yelp Elites: Review more than just restaurants. Review doctors, your plumber, shops, your hair stylist, dog groomer, contractor and more.
Keep in mind what a business is trying to achieve, and review against that. Update reviews if you’re a regular, and it’s been a bit since you last wrote about the business.
Lastly, “friend” other reviewers you like, and use their reviews as extra inspiration. Bonus points: Compliment and vote other reviews “useful,” “funny” and “cool” to help spread the love.
I recommend you get in the habit of reading a lot of reviews. There are great writers out there. Follow Yelpers who you enjoy reading reviews from. Write how you like reviews to read.
— Christine C, Houston
Do you have what it takes to be Yelp Elite?
The Yelp Elite Squad is made up of the most active and influential yelpers and are a key part of our local Yelp communities — online and off. They are über-consumers and trendsetters who adventure with purpose, love supporting local businesses, strive to uncover hidden gems and are vocal about what they love about their cities.
They come together regularly for exclusive, behind-the-scenes events at local businesses. There are also giveaways that are just for Yelp Elites and other cool opportunities that pop up. Learn more and nominate yourself at yelp.com/elite.