Before you read any further you should know that there are two invitations in this article – one for Friday 25th February! Jenny will be hosting some Yelp after-work drinks this Friday evening from 6 – 8pm at Underdogs on Hanover Street.
Anyone who’d like to meet her and the Yelp community is more than welcome to join. Just drop her a note and pop along: firstname.lastname@example.org
(The other invitation is at the end of the article…keep reading!)
So who are you and what is Yelp?
I’m Jenny L, the Community Manager for Yelp Edinburgh! This is an online review site that’s all about real people writing reviews of local businesses, with a big focus on community. The great thing about Yelp is that yelpers really bring their own personality and pizazz to reviews, and often use their real name and photo.
It’s this variety and volume of voices that makes Yelp a fantastic, reliable local guide about what’s hot in the city based on word-of-mouth recommendations written by the people who know best. Yelpers often use the site as a life-style guide, from deciding where to get their next manicure, fix their bike puncture, scout out a pub with the best selection of beers, or find the finest vegetarian restaurants in town. If it’s in the city, it’s on Yelp!
I’m here in Edinburgh as the face and voice of the website, and it’s my job to grow a great community of yelpers both online and off. I’m the editor of the Weekly Yelp newsletter (coming to an inbox near you soon!), the marketing mogul, events coordinator, and I liaise with local business owners.
What do you think makes Edinburgh a good location for Yelp?
Yelp arrived in the UK two years ago, starting in London, and now has an active presence (meaning there’s a CM such as myself) in Dublin, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and now Edinburgh! Yelp is now in 8 countries internationally, and has come a long way since it was founded by two men and a dog in San Francisco, 2005.
When I heard that Yelp had arrived in the UK, I couldn’t wait to start working for them in Edinburgh. With its plethora of amazing eateries, bars, its history and heritage, the Festivals, and the wonderfully international mix of people who live here, it’s a city packed with places to be discovered and people to discover them. As anyone who lives here knows, the Burgh has a wonderful small-town feel despite being the capital of Scotland – I know some people think of it as a collection of mini-villages!
There’s already a great sense of community and camaraderie here, especially amongst local business owners, and so many different groups of like-minded people: from social media savvy types and tweetups, cake-and-bake groups, crafters and vintage lovers, dancers, runners, bloggers, to foodies (a lot of foodies!).
Our website is here to connect all these different people and their endless enthusiasm for the city with one another and with great local businesses.
What’s your favourite area of Edinburgh?
At the moment I’ve been heading to the Grassmarket a lot. It might be quite central, but there are so many great businesses down there and I can easily find lunch, coffee, fruit smoothies, clothes stores, record shops, or an evening glass of wine all within a stone’s throw. It’s one of those wee villages I mentioned!
How do you spend your spare time?
When I’m not working, I’m either running, dancing, eating or sleeping. But normally yelping at the same time! Despite a recent knee injury, I love to run and can’t wait to start pounding the pavements round the Meadows, Arthur’s Seat, and the Water of Leith again. I’m also something of a foodie with a big focus on cake, so weekly afternoon tea is a must. And I do just love exploring the city. A weekend will often find me seeking out a new café or visiting a passing exhibition. The thing I personally love most about it is that it really is the best local guide to a city that I’ve found. Like a lot of people, I like to feel “in-the-know” about the best up-and-coming places or, for example, afternoon tea spots off the beaten path. And I’ve already found so many on Yelp.
Are there any networking groups in Edinburgh you’ve found particularly useful?
I recently went along to the Friday #EdCM (or Edinburgh Coffee morning) for social media types and met a wonderful group of people (along with a delicious breakfast). There’s a whole host of groups organised on twitter too, including tweetups and the up-coming Twestival. I’ve also got my eye on some running groups, Granny Green’s craft group (I’ve always wanted to learn to crochet) and I heard rumours of a bakers meet-up.
So now that Yelp is here in Edinburgh, what’s your plan of action for the next 12 months?
I want to introduce as many people in Edinburgh to Yelp as I can, and take as much of that yelping spirit into the city as is humanly possible! I may even craft up my own Wonder Woman type outfit to keep Fridays fun. What that actually means is I’ll be hosting Yelp parties all across the city, for anyone who has subscribed, as well as launching the more exclusive Elite events for the Yelp Elite Squad – a hand-selected group of unofficial ambassadors of Yelp – the yelpiest yelpers around! Our meet-ups are always fantastic fun, as all of our reviewers share that common interest in exploring the city and sharing their experiences. Bring a bunch of these like-minded yelpers together and a whole lot of magic happens!
All the unofficial Yelp events, as well as other great local happenings, will be listed on the events section too – so if anyone is interested in any sort of yelp group, from breakfast clubs to Friday-night beer buddies, have a nosey. I’ll also be launching the Weekly Yelp newsletter soon, reaching out to local events and projects for marketing opportunities, and getting in touch with local business owners. I’m hosting a Small Business Owners Coffee Morning on Wednesday 16th March for any business owners who’d like to learn more about the free business account tools available on Yelp. In 12 months time I’m sure you’ll find a great and ever-growing community of locals who love the city, love to socialise and discover more, and love to share their experiences with others all on Yelp.
And do you have a tip of the day you’d care to share?
Short stories are my down-time saviour! I’m a Literature graduate, and love to read and write, but rarely have time to indulge my inner bookworm and have several unfinished novels on the go.
With my most recent purchase of ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’ by Raymond Carver I’ve found my 15-minutes of respite a day. Bliss…..
The Small Business Office Hours morning is taking place on Wednesday 16th March, to talk business owners through the free business account tools on Yelp and help unlock their page. If you’d like to attend, please contact Jenny at email@example.com