Morningside of Decatur

social media engagement

5 Tips to Boost Your Company’s Audience Engagement

Audience engagement isn’t always as easy as posting the latest meme to your social page. To truly generate the results you’re looking for, you’ll need to approach your engagement strategy with a plan.

For example, simply posting a video to your Facebook page could result in 135% greater reach than a text or image post?

Here are 5 tips for improving audience engagement that you can use to fuel your strategy.

1. Show Off your personality to up audience engagement

Audiences don’t care for faceless brands anymore. Instead, they prefer companies who come across as warm, friendly, and witty.

Brand personality humanizes a company and makes them easier to identify and connect with.

If you haven’t already come up with a branding strategy, now is the perfect time to do so. Pick a few traits that you think represent your brand, then think about ways in which you can express those via your company’s voice.

Your team should serve as brand ambassadors who keep that voice consistent across any and all channels.

2. Invest in Content

The saying is true, “content is king.” Content marketing is the most effective way to show off your brand’s personality, generate traffic, and get your audience engaged and talking about your business.

However, ‘content’ is a vague term, so we don’t blame you if you’re not sure where to begin.

It all depends on where you’re posting.

Images and video tend to generate the most buzz on social media, while blog posts on your website are a fantastic way to establish trust, brand authority, and improve your SEO.

3. Get Your Audience Involved

All too often, marketing is mistaken for a passive endeavor. Don’t fall into this old pitfall — modern marketing is anything but passive.

Some of the hottest brands get clicks by directly involving their audience. Research even shows that when you get your audience involved, they’re more likely to take an interest in your product or service.

Your call to action is the best way to encourage involvement. End each post by encouraging a specific action. The most common CTA involves getting in touch with your business.

Don’t feel limited, though. Ask for audience involvement by requesting feedback, asking your audience to submit content, encouraging comments, or anything else that requires them to take action.

4. Reply to Comments

Generating comments on your content can be a challenge. It’s even tougher if your audience feels as though you don’t care about what they’re saying.

As often as you can, reply to comments, whether they’re positive or negative. Doing so lets your audience know you’re listening.

5. Post at the Right Time

You have great content and you’re excited for the world to see it. Now, all that’s left to do is load it into your content management system and hit publish, right?

That’s an option. But if you’re publishing at an off-hour, you won’t receive the engagement you’re hoping for.

Instead, check your analytics before posting. What times generate the most engagement? Follow your data and you can’t go wrong.

If you don’t have any data yet, a good rule of thumb is to post during business hours. Arrange for posts to go live around mid-morning and just after lunch, as audiences tend to be the most alert and productive during these periods.

Boost Your Company’s Audience Engagement With These Tips

Before we go, we should note that audience engagement involves a fair bit of trial and error. Not everything will work on the first try. It’s worth keeping a content calendar and trying out different types of content on a consistent basis to see which types of content yield the most audience engagement.

That’s okay!

Stay patient and learn from your data. You’ll boost your audience engagement in no time!

Want to get eyes on your business? Contact us today to find out how we can help!

PR Awards

Simple Do’s and Don’ts When Applying For Business PR Awards

Winning an award for your company feels great. But that’s not the only benefit!
One study found that companies who received an award saw a 37% sales increase afterword.

PR awards may be a great way to build trust and credibility for your company, but how do you secure an award in the first place?

We’ve got some tips that you should be sure to follow below, so keep reading!

Do: Put in Your Application as Soon as Possible

You can’t guarantee that your application will make it to the top of the stack. But by submitting your application as soon as entries open, you’ll stand a better chance of sticking out in judges’ minds.

Start your application a few days before the content calls for entries. That way, you’ll be sure yours is one of the first that judges see.

Don’t: Forget to Include Supplementary Materials

The perfect PR award application contains a healthy balance of text and images.

It’s one thing to tell judges that you had a killer year in terms of customer satisfaction or did some great humanitarian works as a team. But letting them see it for themselves cements the details and makes them more real.

Photos, charts, videos — send anything and everything you have that’s relevant to your entry.

Do: Apply To Multiple Programs

Don’t feel as though you’re limited to applying for one award. You miss 100% of the shots you never take, after all.

Though it may seem obvious, applying to multiple programs substantially increases your chances of winning an award.

So don’t be shy, go ahead and apply.

Don’t: Submit in Every Category

On the other hand, that doesn’t mean you should go crazy and apply for all categories. Only select the ones that directly apply to your company.

A blanket application of all categories will only frustrate the judges and make them feel as though you don’t value their time.

Do: Keep Your Application Brief

The shorter your application, the better. While you could likely brag about your company’s hard work for hours on end, put yourself in the judges’ shoes. They have hundreds — sometimes thousands — of applications to get through.

Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Be as direct and descriptive as you can. Let your supplementary materials do the rest.

Don’t: Forget to Proofread

We can’t stress this enough, have someone look over the application before you submit it. A silly typo might not seem like a big deal, but it can discredit you in the eyes of the judges.

Get a second, third, and even fourth set of eyes to check it out. The more input you can get from your team, the better.

Show Them What You’re Made Of: How to Win PR Awards

If your company is looking to secure some PR awards this year, make sure to follow these tips. While we can’t guarantee you’ll win, follow these tips and you’ll stand a much better chance of impressing the judges.

Want to recommend your company for an award? Get in touch and find out how!

small business awards 2019

9 Small Business Awards Worth the Application Efforts!

Apply to These 9 Small Business Awards to help your Company Stand Out!

When you own a small business, being recognized for your hard work is very gratifying. After all, every single day you strive to serve customers and clients, and to have a positive impact on your community.

Awards for business help recognize local companies for a job well done. Whether you’re new to the industry, or have a long history of commitment to helping the economy grow, there are plenty of benefits to receiving small business awards.

In this article, we take a look at 9 awards that you can apply for in order to give your business the recognition it deserves. Keep reading for a list of awards that can help take your industry exposure to the next level.

1. Ernst & Young: Entrepreneur of the Year

Ernst & Young is widely acknowledged as one of the more important awards in business. This award recognizes top entrepreneurs in a wide range of categories for business leaders across the country. 

2. The Stevies: American Business Awards

These awards for U.S. based businesses are divided into ten categories with subcategories that include both for-profit and non-profit companies of all sizes. The Stevies present Company of the Year awards in 34 industry categories, with a special emphasis on innovation.

3. Thrillist

Winning a spot among the Thrillist awards list provides enviable exposure in the business community. There’s no statue or significant prize money for winners, but winning will provide the level of publicity every company dreams of. This award is best suited to restaurants, shopping venues, and other retailers.

4. NAVOBA: Vetrepreneur of the Year

This award was created to support veteran owned businesses across the country. Companies of all sizes are encouraged to apply.

5. San Francisco World Spirits Competition

If you’re in the business of distilling spirits, this award can help you rise to the top of the industry. It also provides the chance to help improve placement of your bottles on store shelves.

6. The Veggie Awards

The Veggies are dedicated to vegan and sustainable business practices. This award is a great way to gain exposure for businesses focuses on helping people eat healthier and thus live better lives.

7. People & Planet Green Business Award

This award honors companies for environmentally-friendly business practices. There are multiple categories, and the winner in each categories receives a check for $5,000.

8. MVMT 50: The Innovator Awards

This annual award recognizes people of color who are making an impact on entrepreneurship. Winners gain press recognition and the opportunity to expand their professional network.

9. Enterprising Women of the Year Awards

These awards recognize the entrepreneurial spirit in young women. Hosted by The Enterprising Women Foundation, the spotlight is shined on women and girls who work hard to stand out as business leaders within their communities.

Top Awards for Business

In order to succeed and flourish in a competitive marketplace, small businesses need all the help they can get. That’s why awards for business are so important. This list of awards you can apply for gives you the chance to attract the kind of recognition that can help your business grow.

Click here to see 7 strategies to increase brand trust for your company.

Promote Business by Encouraging Your Employees to be Brand Ambassadors

Employee satisfaction is important and links to customer satisfaction. Not only do satisfied and happy employees make for more productive workers, making a better contribution to the company, they can also act as spokespeople for your company. Happy employees are eager to promote business and this could lead to new clients and even sales as well as small business awards. 

Here are several practical ways your employees can help your business and potentially ensure the company gets the recognition it deserves.


Merchandise is crucial to promotion. Getting your employees to drink from employee mugs at home or wear key rings with the company logo can get people asking questions about your business. It also is a tangible way to promote business. 

Merchandise is a nice way of rewarding employees and makes them feel more included and part of the team. Here are some items that your employees might be interested in:

  • Water bottles. These are environmentally friendly and give off the right message about your company’s eco credentials. But they also mean exposure to members of the public. Think about how many people will see your employees drinking from your company branded bottle on the bus, walking down the street or at a restaurant. These visual impressions can help promote your business.
  • Phone covers. Everybody has a smartphone these days and people also break them very easily. A well-made phone cover, in several different designs and colors with the company logo embossed, can be a popular item among the staff that is both useful and attractive. 

Social Media 

With Facebook averaging over 2.3 Billion users, a company’s social media platform is more important than ever to promote business. Imagine the outreach of not just one central account but potentially hundreds of genuine social media accounts all promoting your company on a daily basis.

Encourage your employees to tweet about the company or post a photo on Instagram or Facebook, tagging the company’s official account in posts and sharing the company logo. Also feel free to talk to your company employees about strategic posting. 

Give employees some advice on how they can help promote business and perhaps even arrange a group session with the person in your office responsible for social media. 


Networking is the way the business and employees build connections with customers but it can also be the way employees can make connections of their own that can be valuable in their long term careers. Supporting your employees in this way promotes business by showing that your company is a caring employer.

Arranging networking events outside of work time can, therefore, be a very valuable process. Be sure to offer incentives such as free drinks or even a buffet meal to ensure a laid back event that is not too formal. 

Your Employees Are the Best Way to Promote Business 

If you want to ensure your business is reaching out to new customers and growing at a pace you are happy with, then look to the people who work at your business.

Your employees are your organization’s lifeblood who experience the company on a day-to-day business. If they like and enjoy working for the company then, with the right guidance, they will be one of the best ways to promote business, online and in-person. 

If you’re interested in our best-in-business awards contact us to find out more.  

public relations

PR Strategies: Attracting Media Publicity for Your Small Business

Get the Coverage Your Company Deserves: How to Get Media Attention.

The business world is more competitive than ever. Consumers have more choices and more access to information than ever before.

Public relations, or earned media, builds trust with your customers and potential customers. The more they trust your brand, the more likely they will be to buy from you. It also generates brand awareness which can set your business apart from your competition.

What’s the best way to generate earned media? Find out how to get media attention with these tried and true PR strategies.

1. Connect with Journalists in Your Industry

Public relations is built on relationships. You have to develop relationships with writers and journalists covering your local area and in your industry.

For example, if you’re in Central Georgia, you can pick up the Macon Telegraph and find out who covers the business beat in the area. 

Being active on social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn are also good ways to connect with journalists.

2. Give Them a Reason to Write About You

It’s not enough to reach out to a journalist and tell them about your business. You have to give them a reason to write about you.

A couple of ways to do that is to host an event or earn a small business award. You could also sponsor an event with another local company which could generate media attention.

3. Make Your Messaging Consistent

In order to gain the full impact of getting media attention, you need to make sure that your messaging is consistent with your brand.

You want to think about what the public should feel about your business, whether it’s security, happiness, or any other emotion. Make sure that that is reflected in the story and the messaging you are sending out to various media channels.

The messaging also has to be consistent. Have you ever seen a politician deliver the same speech and the same message over and over? That’s what being on message looks like.

With earned media, you don’t have full control over the message, but you do control how you present your business. Make sure that the message itself is consistent and that it is also consistent with your brand image.

4. Be Active in Looking for Opportunities

News happens every single day. Journalists are usually looking for sources to report the news. You can help fill in those gaps by positioning yourself as an expert in your field.

As you develop relationships with writers and journalists, you’ll position yourself as the go-to source for an opinion or insight to breaking news.

5. Have Patience

If you really want to know how to get media attention, you’ll need a bit of patience. It takes time to reach out and develop relationships with writers and journalists. They can get bombarded with requests from ‘experts’ and you have to show that you’re the real thing.

When you make a commitment to getting media attention for your business and take consistent action, you’ll eventually be rewarded.

How to Get Media Attention the Right Way

A clip in a newspaper or industry magazine could make a big difference in your brand and your business. When you learn how to get media attention, you´ll quickly learn that it takes a lot of work but has a big payoff.

You have to build connections with journalists and give them a great story to tell. The more you can do that, the more coverage you’ll get over time.

Are you ready to give people a reason to write about you? Find out how a Best in Business Award can elevate your business and generate press coverage.

brand trust

7 Strategies to Increase Brand Trust for Your Company

Increasing your company’s brand trust can be a challenge, despite the many forms of advertising out there. With consumers getting thousands of messages a day, consumers have become more discriminating. 

Even though you know your business is awesome, peyou want your customers to believe it too. How can you convince them that your brand truly is everything it claims to be?

Don’t worry! Here are 7 tips to help you boost brand trust and which can generate more leads:

1. Be Findable and Credible

The more findable your business is, the better. This means a Google My Business page is nearly essential.

Not only can it help make your business more findable, but with quality pictures, directions, and honest reviews, it can be a huge help in boosting brand trust.

Speaking of business reviews—most customers trust online feedback just as much as if another person told them. 

And if you have many of these good reviews, it can boost brand trust by showing potential customers that you have reliable products and services. 

2. Enhance Customer Service and Reliability

Customers value a positive experience. When an issue comes up, make sure to solve it quickly and efficiently. 

Consider setting up a live chat on your website to help answer customer’s questions as fast as possible.

This will show customers that your company is both reliable and responsive, boosting brand trust.

3. Gain Recognition

Another way to up your brand’s trust is to win a small business award. This can help your company stand out from all the rest. 

Business awards can boost your business’ credibility and attract more clients.  

4. Meet Customer Expectations

Friendliness and honestly are key qualities in creating a welcoming environment for customers and building brand trust. 

When creating your ads, don’t exaggerate in any way. Instead, make ads as accurate as possible so that when customers receive their product, it will meet their expectations.

This will show buyers that you are true to your word and your brand is worthy of their trust.

5. Set Up a Professional Website

Setting up a neat and professional website for your business can show customers your brand values quality and excellence. 

Make sure you get your own domain name and choose the correct color scheme to keep your website neat and content easily readable.

Abstain from ads, especially pop-ups, since these can bother rather than impress your target audience.

A website is also a great place to showcase your brand’s achievements. Consider setting up a portfolio page with examples of your brand’s best work.

6. Post Quality Content on a Consistent Basis

Posting quality content consistently is an awesome way to build brand trust because it shows you’re invested in your niche and know it well. 

You can set up a blog on your website, share helpful info on a social media account, host a conference, or set up a webinar.

7. Interact with Visitors

Interacting with visitors online or offline is a great way to establish a personal connection with your target audience.

If in a brick and mortar store, make sure you are friendly and helpful so your customers will find exactly what they need. 

Final Thoughts on Building Brand Trust

Building brand trust is not an endeavor reserved for national brands and doing so can come with many long-term benefits. 

Make sure to use these strategies to show people that you have truly awesome and reliable products and services. As the word spreads on-line and off-line, your brand’s reputation will help convert more prospects into leads.

Need help finding a trustworthy and reliable service provider in Alabama, Tennessee, or Georgia? Check out our award winning recipients to find local companies that will be glad to assist you with your unique needs. Our recipients provide services to both business customers as well as residential clients. And if you would like to nominate a worthy business in one of those states- please fill out a nomination form today!

winning culture

Creating a Winning Culture: How to Achieve a Company Culture to Elevate Your Business

Have you ever considered the importance of a strong company culture?

As a business owner, you should. 

A company’s culture is directly related to its turnover rate. A company with a poor culture has an estimated turnover rate of 48.4 percent.

When it comes to your business, everything hinges on your employees and their mindsets. Check out these six ways to lift up your employees with a winning culture.

1. Recognize and Reward employees

Looking to improve your company culture? You should consider recognizing and rewarding your employees for a job well done. Both you and your employees will benefit greatly from doing this.

This can be recognized from the top of the company or even peer to peer recognition. Think of the behaviors that are important to the core values of your company and then reward people who meet those standards. If you are not sure how to create one, start small with a few rewards that align with your company goals and culture.

2. Create a Strong Team Atmosphere 

Are you wondering how to improve company culture?

Strong company culture can’t exist without a strong team atmosphere. To strength the team vibe within your company, get everyone together for team building exercises or out of office events such as volunteering for charities as a team.

3. Allow employee Flexibility in the Workplace

Gone are the days of traditional card punching. Instead, you may want to consider entertaining the more modern idea of office flexibility. This can be allowing employees to work from home from time to time, actually implementing ‘flex time’, or allowing employees to take “mental health” days.

Other ways that you offer more flexibility is to allow your employees more control over their work responsibilities. Consider less micromanaging and more freedom. 

4. Give Regular employee Feedback

Improving company culture comes when you give your employees regular feedback on their performance. This goes beyond a yearly performance review. Regular, timely feedback is necessary so your employees know exactly what your expectations are. Other growing trends that have shown to improve company culture is bottom-up feed back, as well as 360-degree feed back.

Along with giving regular feedback, you can also let your employees know that they’re welcome to share ideas and concerns with you as well. Hearing their feedback will not only make them feel important, but it can also improve different areas of your business.

5. Stay True to company values

When it comes to creating a better company culture, you need to stay true to your core values.

Ideally, you would already have established values and goals. If not, you need to establish your organization’s core values so that your employees know what is expected.

6. Create and Encourage Strong Relationships

Want happier employees? Create and encourage strong relationships amongst your employees. Create a space within your office that’s conducive to strengthening relationships.

When employees build friendships within their office, morale goes up. When morale increases, so do employee performance. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Create a Winning Culture at Work

Creating a winning culture in the workplace benefits everyone. When your employees feel important and cared for, the entire dynamic of your company can change for the better.

Do you think that your business is deserving of a best in business award? If so, contact us today.

customer satisfaction

5 Tips for Improving Customer Satisfaction

So many business awards hinge on customer satisfaction, and so does your company’s long-term success. Here’s how to send it through the roof.

Your customers are the heart and soul of your company. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to keep your doors open very long before your business falls apart.

Because your customers are so vital to your success, you need to do everything in your power to make sure they’re happy doing business with you.

Need a little help keeping your customers satisfied? We’re here to help!

Here are five must-know tips to help you give your customer satisfaction a boost.

1. Take Care of Your Own

If your employees aren’t happy, then no one is going to be. Your customers can tell when your employees aren’t satisfied in their jobs — and that can rub off on them.

Your first step in trying to improve customer satisfaction should be figuring out what you can do to improve the lives of your employees.

When your employees are comfortable and enjoying their work, they’ll be more willing to go above and beyond for your customers.

2. Stay Human

While automation can streamline a lot in the business world, when it comes to dealing with customer satisfaction issues you should try to keep things as human as you can.

Nothing can make a customer feel more neglected than handing them off to an automated system whenever they run into an issue.

Try to keep your customer service lines staffed with well-trained, confident human employees. Even if you aren’t able to offer 24-hour support, having actual people handling the phones can make a world of difference to your customers.

3. Make It Personal

There’s nothing quite like walking into your favorite coffee shop and having the barista start your order without you having to say a word.

It’s nice to feel like people know you.

And, you can be sure that your customers would appreciate the same kind of treatment from your business. Make sure to keep information about your frequent customers on hand.

By keeping information such as their names, past purchases, and other preferences on hand, you can personalize client experiences. Which will make previous patrons more likely to feel appreciated & therefore recommend your business to their friends and contacts. That little extra effort to insure customer satisfaction can have a powerful impact on customer satisfaction & encourage your customers to visit you again in the future.

4. Respond ASAP

Nobody likes feeling ignored.

One of the best ways to improve customer satisfaction is by responding to them as quickly as you possibly can.

Appropriate response times can vary depending on the type and size of your business. That said, ideally, you should strive to respond to all your customers within 24-hours.

Remember, the faster you respond, the more likely they are to react to the situation in a positive manner. Keeping customers satisfied often means responding quickly and courteously to their concerns. Even responding to simple requests in a speedy manner can improve your customer satisfaction levels significantly.

5. Reward Your Loyal Customers

Customers who stick by your business for a few years aren’t customers any more — they’re potential brand ambassadors. And, you should treat them as such.

Your customers know how important they are to your company. So, you should do everything you can to thank them for their repeated business. Reward your loyal customers with special rates, product previews, or an exclusive loyalty program.

When your customers feel appreciated, they’ll be sure not only continue to shop with you but to spread your name around as well.

Improving Customer Satisfaction

The trick to creating a good relationship with your customers is taking the time to let them know how much you appreciate them.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to improve your company’s customer satisfaction levels very quickly.

Think your company has what it takes to be named a Best in Business recipient? Contact us today for more information!

Middle Tennessee Quality Contractor

A Quality Contractor in Middle Tennessee: 6 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring

The hardest part for most homeowners is finding a reliable contractor. Based on research, the average cost of remodeling a home in Middle Tennessee is between $9,714 and $77,716. If you include the general contractor fees, $5,245 – $6,557, you immediately realize the immense costs of the project.

Making the practical choice of hiring a reliable contractor guarantees you quality service. So how do you go about hiring the right contractor? The best way is by writing down questions to ask a contractor.

These questions will help you assess the experience of the contractor and accountability. From the answers, you will be able to set a realistic expectation and avoid mistakes.

In this article, we discuss the 6 important questions to ask a contractor before hiring in Middle Tennessee.

How Long Have They Been Doing This?

It’s always a good idea to ask about the contractor’s work experience. Also, the length of time he or she has been running the business can shed light on how long they have been doing similar projects.

The contractor may inform you that they have 5, 10 or more than 20 years of working experience. That’s great because it demonstrates they can get the job done. You may also come across a contractor who recently started their business.

If the contractor is a local, they may have worked for a few people. Since word gets around, you can always find out from neighbors about their experience. Don’t forget to find out if the contractor’s company has received any business awards.

Do They Have a Business and a Contracting License?

Each state or county has different requirements when it comes to business licenses. As a homeowner, you need to inquire if the contractor has the required business and contracting licenses for your area.

Having a business license alone is not enough. With a contracting license, it means they have certifications specific to their expertise. As such, they have passed exams and met specific criteria to prove competency and expertise.

Are They Insured and Bonded?

One of the most important questions to ask a contractor is whether they have insurance and surety bond. Accidents can happen as the contractor’s employees go about remodeling your home. To avoid getting sued, inquire if the contractor has insurance.

Being bonded is a security that protects you in case the contractor defaults. Before hiring, ask for proof of bonding.

Do They Have a Warranty?

Like insurance, a warranty protects you against any issues. For instance, the contractor bought poor quality materials and built a deck for you. Without a warranty, you may end up footing the costs of rebuilding the deck.

With a warranty, all problems arising during remodeling are covered by the contractor. Ask each contractor you get an estimate from about their warranty and get a copy of it in writing. This way you can read it later when you have more time to note any questions you may want to ask your top choices for the project.

Will They Set up Inspections and Get the Required Permits for the Project?

Before any building or remodeling begins, you must get the required permits. The right contractor can handle this for you. Not only do they know the permits required but they understand the process of obtaining them.

If the contractor asks you to pull the permit, this should raise a red flag.

What Is a Typical Working Day Like?

As a homeowner, it is important to know how the contractor is planning to complete the project. For instance, if you hire a contractor for remodeling, what are the project start and end dates? Other questions to ask contractors include:

Will you be required to move stuff from your home? How about the level of noise? Where will the materials and tools be stored? What steps will the contractor take to protect your property?

More Questions to Ask a Contractor

There are a few more questions to ask a contractor. This helps you get information that will ease your decision making. For instance, ask about references, payment schedule, and how disagreements will be resolved.

Having all this information makes it easier for you to choose a reliable contractor.

Want to know more about award-winning businesses in Middle Tennessee? Check out our blog.