When I lived in Dallas I started yelping. You know writing reviews for the website, Yelp.com. I wrote forty reviews within two months mostly about the lunch spots we were hitting because my boss took us out to eat everyday. Then, I got an email asking if I wanted to become Elite. Elite? Who me? But of course! I started getting invited to the Yelp parties, met other Yelpers and had a grand ol' time.
When I started to look for a job in New Orleans, I thought about Yelp and realized the Yelp community was under utilized there. With so much tourism in New Orleans, I thought Yelp really needed to tap into it. So I wrote a letter telling them to hire me as Community Manager. I sent the letter to the community managers in Dallas and Austin who then passed it on up the chain. Well, a year later I got an email from the Community Manager in Dallas saying that Yelp was coming to NOLA and hiring. Bummer. What a great job! Write reviews. Talk to and promote local businesses. Encourage community involvement. Throw parties with the company credit card!
Needless to say, I couldn't apply because I already have a full time job, but at least NOLA got some recognition and hey, at least I get to go to the parties.
I'd like to think that some Yelp executive in San Francisco read the letter I wrote on 9/9/09 and decided to give New Orleans her spot light. Here is the letter...
photo of me at my last Yelp event in Dallas featured on the Yelp blog
I would like to introduce myself as “Yelp’s Ragin Cajun”. I am a down home country girl with “big city experience.” South Louisiana needs you, and I am just the person to lead you to there. Approximately 24.1 million tourists visit this state each year. We need all of their reviews PLUS a massive guerilla marketing campaign to get the locals involved! Let’s get these future Yelpers out of the FEMA trailers and connected
Flocks of young, intelligent do-gooders have migrated to assist in a massive recovery effort that has been ongoing since 2005, and Louisiana wants to keep them here. My wheels were spinning on how I could help, and I crash landed on Yelp! I’ve watched Yelp in action over the past few years in Austin and Dallas, and I
think Yelp is just the “on and offline” community connection that south Louisiana needs.
Just to prove it.... Festival International de Louisiane is the largest free French speaking festival in the U.S.,
and no one has reviewed it yet! Not to mention that it totally ROCKS! Likewise, the sparkling new 55-million dollar Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge has been THE ultimate place to hobnob in Baton Rouge since 2005…again no reviews! Are you kidding me? Get me out there people! I’ll shout it from the rooftop terrace!
Why south Louisiana?
No. 1 - Food and Drinks are a top priority here.
The New Orleans Metro area has over 3,300 eating and drinking establishments and many don’t even have websites. The Nation’s Culinary Capital needs Yelpers to highlight the best of the best. Travelocity has ranked New Orleans as a “Top 10 Global Destination for Food Fanatics” and food fanatics love Yelp. It’s
match made in cyber heaven!
Yelpers are energized by reviewing hole-in-the-wall, off-the-beaten-path spots, and Louisiana is full of them. Cajun country thrives on small businesses like mom and pop boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, diners,dive bars, and local retailers. Louisiana was ranked No. 5 for entrepreneurial activity by the 2008 State New Economy Index. Like flashers on Bourbon Street, new businesses need “exposure”. Come on Yelp, show us what you’re working with.
No. 2 – Tons of Young Professionals.
South Louisiana is home to over 130,000 students at 12 major universities and colleges, and three of those colleges usually hold the titles of “Top Party School”. This means that there are a ton of young professionals with degrees in partying just waiting to partner up with Yelp. TOGA, TOGA, TOGA! YELP, YELP, YELP!
While other states are seeing folks leave under high unemployment rates, Louisiana has now experienced the second consecutive year of population IN-migration, according to the US Census. IN-Migration = Yelp sensation! I want to flag down those moving trucks, welcome the newcomers, and point them to Yelp!
No. 3 – Tourism
Yelp knows how to party, but you haven’t seen anything yet! We’ll stick the CEO’s on a Mardi Gras float and have them screaming for more. No seriously, you haven’t experienced life until you’ve ridden a float in a Mardi Gras parade. It doesn’t stop at Mardi Gras. There are 250+ festivals every year in this region. This opens up a huge opportunity for Yelpers to sample great food, music, and even stop on by a Yelp booth! What better way to advertise than by connecting with local and visiting Yelpers in a cultural laid back atmosphere. If I have any say in it, the Yelp events page will be fully stocked! Festivals, jazz, soul, blues, parades, oh my! We’ll prove that those that play together stay together.
Besides the fun, it’s a big business here. Tourism is a $5.5 billion industry in New Orleans, and there isn’t much competition for online resources in this tight-knit community. Word of mouth is how it works down here and once I start the Yelp craze, it’ll spread like a bonfire on the levee.
No. 1 – I get around.
Together we could take over three cities, not just one. My peeps cover New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. My passion for this region is contagious, so WATCH OUT! I once fell asleep in the gospel tent at Jazz Fest when I was FOUR. “Four year olds at Jazz Fest”, you ask? Yeah, that’s me. I know this region; I party with these people; and I am as sweet as pralines, but I put my game face on when it comes to business strategy.
No. 2 – Social Networking Butterfly, People Connector, Critic and Writer
Need to know who has the best gumbo? Holla! Where’s the party at? Right here! Friends come to me to find out what’s new, what’s good and what’s spicy! I am always up to try new places and share my experiences. I am a motivator, creator and writer on a mission to promote a sense of community through Yelp. Last year most of my friends had never heard of Yelp, but don’t worry, I told them all about you! I have hundreds of social and business friends on and off line and became Elite after just 3 months of Yelping.
No.3 – I am a Designer.
I am always looking to inspire. My background in design has proven my ability to develop brands, make clients happy, manage large projects, and makes me a hella good planner. I was once awarded the title “Always on Deadline.” I manage time, budgets and strategy, and I make it look goooooood! The small businesses of South Louisiana need you, and I’m just the spicy Cajun to get this party started! Laissez les bon temps roulez! (Cajun translation- Let the Good Times Roll)
Lindsay “lou” H.