Monday, November 25, 2013

Ready to Improve Your Brand? Why You Need Think Before Clicking "Like"!

Created by Kim Kline, API

How Careful are You when Using Social Media?
Do you really give it much thought 
when you “like” something on Facebook, 
or any other social network?  

Do you simply see a cute photo, funny story, interesting post, or great product and give it the “thumbs up”?

Many do just that. Even if we pause for a moment, it is simply too easy to press the “like” button for something that makes us smile, think a little, or catches our eye.

However, this may not be the best tack to take.  

Your “like” may actually reveal more about you than you think.  

According to a 2013 Cambridge University study, Facebook “likes” can be used to accurately predict things like race, gender, sexual orientation, political party, religion, drug use, and relationship status*. (Source 1)

In most cases, your "like" is not an obvious statement, such as when you "like" a certain political or social page, but a pattern of “likes” that allow others to “infer attributes such as intelligence, sexual orientation, or political views that an individual may not have intended to share”.

Many times these are things about ourselves that we may not even be aware we are sharing. And recent issues with Facebook and our elections shows that companies and candidates are watching!!

Do You Know what a Facebook "Like" Says about You?  "Tweet This"

In reality, your “like” may even be seen as an endorsement.

When you click “like” on a product or business page, it is assumed that you have a connection with that company. People may think you have used their product or service and, unless you state otherwise, are happy with it.

Companies are also counting on the fact that when you “like” a product or service on Facebook, that “like” will now be seen by your friends. The result? Instant advertising and product endorsement.

And the power of a Facebook "like" doesn't stop there. Even the courts are in on the act.  

A case concerning Facebook "likes" came out of the Virginia circuit court. It involved police department employees and their “like” of a rival Sheriff candidate’s Facebook page. The current sheriff objected and instituted disciplinary actions against the department employees. In turn, they filed a lawsuit against the sheriff.  

The court ruled that Facebook "likes" are protected as free speech. Therefore, the sheriff could not legally take any actions against the department employees for liking the page or posts of the rival sheriff.

However, the court also stated that “liking a political candidate's campaign page communicates the user's approval of the candidate and supports the campaign by associating the user with it”.

The most concerning part of this is that, according to the court, 
a “like” shows “approval”, in this case of a candidate.   
It stands to reason then that this approval may be inferred about any other post you “like”.

As you can see, whether you mean to or not, Facebook “likes” can present a picture of who you are and what you think.  

Some things, like causes you believe in, you may want to share. While other things, like your politics, you may not.

While this may not mean much if you simply use Facebook to connect with friends, for those of you cultivating an online business presence, this can be more problematic.

The professional brand you build needs to be protected. Creating trust between yourself and your customers takes time. But it can take very little to lose it. 

You may find that certain “likes” actually alienate potential clients, or attract interest you never intended.  

Learn more about mixing your business and personal life and views ~ and why sometimes it makes sense in "Are You Ever Smart to Mix Your Personal Beliefs with Your Business?".

And if you are in the market to for new job or even a promotion, your online image has weight ~ and that includes what you "like" and share.  

Employers will look.  Projecting the most professional image possible goes a long way.

"Social network posts, comments, and pictures by either you or others may reveal information about you that you might not want a potential employer to know. The truth is, employers often use whatever information they can obtain to help them make a hiring decision. It is important that you know what information can be seen by those not even in “your circle” and to think about what kind of conclusions might be drawn from it."

Excerpt from; "Social Media, Background Checks, and Company Policy".

As you can see, the Facebook, 
or other social media “like”, 
may not be as innocent as it seems.  

However, being aware of that is more than half the battle. 

Keep that in mind and you can enjoy the wonderful connections and fun that “liking”, sharing, and commenting on posts can bring.

Pay it Forward!  
Please Share and "Like" this post! 

Authored by

API can Help You or Your Company Navigate the world of Background Checks, Hiring, and running your Business!

Discover more About Us and get answers to  Your Questions too!

Source 1:  "Private Traits and Attributes are Predictable fromDigital Records of Human Behavior"

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am Thankful...........

November is a time for many of us to take time and give thanks.  We may gather family and friends around us for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, or simply join them in watching our favorite football teams compete.

Whatever you choose, the season brings thoughts of get togethers and a feeling of thankfulness.

I would like to extend that gratitude to you ~ my clients, readers, and Social Media friends.

Despite being in business for almost 17 years, this past year has made me feel more successful than ever.  What is really special is that this success does not come solely from having a healthy bottom line.  

It comes from the feeling of being blessed to have connected with each of you.  You have all been extremely supportive of my efforts and it has renewed my commitment to you and to my business.

I start and end each day with a sense of purpose, and I am thankful.

I can honestly say that I feel lucky and privileged.  You are all wonderful and amazing people.  Many of you are pursuing your own success, and I admire your efforts.  I also hope you feel the same sense of encouragement from me that I feel from all of you.

It is also gratifying to feel the camaraderie you have all shared with me.  It will never be forgotten.

My goal is to strive to live by these words from John F. Kennedy and put my gratitude and appreciation into action throughout the year.   You all deserve nothing less.

In closing I leave you with these thoughts:

“Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places ~ productive, fulfilling, peaceful places. So be happy for those who are making progress. Cheer for their victories. Be thankful for their blessings, openly. What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you're cheering for will start cheering for you.”     Unknown

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For more of my articles, please take a moment and subscribe to my blog.  You can also find more about what I do in my business, Access Profiles, Inc. on my website.

I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Thank you all!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Become that “Go To” Person and Help Your Business Succeed!

Finding ways to set your company apart from the competition makes you memorable.  
That means finding something about you and your company that speaks to you and focusing your efforts on spreading the word.......

Unless your business is completely unique, you will have to deal with the reality of competition. Other companies are bound to offer products or services very much like your own.

The question then becomes, How Can You Set Yourself Apart from the Crowd? The answer is to Become that “Go To” Person!

You need to establish yourself as “the” person that comes to mind when others need a specific problem solved or help in reaching the next step. When you accomplish that, you are now a “Go To” Person!

We have found 6 ways to help set our business apart from even our biggest competitors ~  and they can help you too. Check out these Quotes to Inspire You and Get You Started:

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." ~ Stephen R. Covey
  • Establish Yourself as Someone who will Listen. Really talk with your clients. Ask them questions and then use what you learn to help them find a solution to their problems and concerns. Practice this and they will come back time after time.
A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”   ~ Henry Ford
  • Be Available and Provide Stellar Service. In our business, we make sure we are available. We are there not only for routine projects but also for rush jobs others may not want to take. We always focus on doing exactly, or even more, than what we say we are going to do. Focus on service does not go unnoticed.
Don’t treat your customers like a bunch of purses and wallets.” ~ Chris Brogan
  • Show Your Customers that You truly Care about Them and Their Businesses. Make sure they know through your actions, not just your words, that you are not just in it for yourself. Put them first and you cannot fail.
Genius is seldom recognized for what it is: a great capacity for hard work.”  ~ Henry Ford
  • Work Harder and More Passionately than Your Competition. Pride yourself on exceeding your client’s expectations. You will be rewarded for it. 
I have discovered that by providing my clients with the quality Background Checks they need, my business is completely in line with my values and what is important to me.  This is my “why”!” ~ quote from my blog article “I Know Why I do What I Do!”
  • Don’t be all Business. Show a little of your personal side to your clients. Let them know what makes you tick. We have found the best way to do this is through our blog. By reading our articles they know what API is all about and where we are coming from. Revealing a little "About You" adds depth to your character and helps your customers get to know you.

Given the chance people will buy from people who care.”~ Paco Underhill.
  • Be Known for Something. Find that thing that is uniquely yours. Pick something important and do that better than anyone else. This is called finding your “niche”. Our focus is being a friend to Small Business. We have proven time and again that we realize their needs and will work with them, providing the quality they deserve. They know we care.
No matter what you choose to do, being a “Go To” Person will help you achieve your own successYou will also gain great satisfaction in knowing you have achieved your goal to set yourself apart from the norm.
We wish you luck!
Are You a "Go To" Person in Your Field? Share the tips that helped get you there!

Authored by  

Be sure to visit our website for more ways to help your business lead the pack. We also invite you to subscribe so you won’t miss our latest new article (and we promise no spam!).  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Background Checks & “Ban the Box” - The Pendulum Swings

Do You Understand “Ban the Box”? Do You Know what it means to both Employers and Employees?

We recently read an article summarizing the EEOC’s guidelines regarding background checks during the hiring process; “EEOC’s Guidance on Criminal Background Checks Questioned”.

In it, author Jim Evans takes a look at what the EEOC is trying to accomplish with its quest to “ban the box” and lessen instances of “disparate impact” that using background checks can create. The EEOC believes that automatically eliminating candidates that have prior criminal records disqualifies many unfairly.

A Criminal Record Shouldn't Automatically Mean You Won't Get the Job  "Tweet This"

This is the crux of the movement to “ban the box”.

While we have written on the subject before, the continued confusion surrounding this issue prompts us to revisit it.

At its most basic, “ban the box” is the removal of the question or “box” on an application that asks whether the applicant has a criminal history.  

The belief is that by disclosing that early in the application process, many are being automatically rejected.

The EEOC believes that by waiting until after a conditional offer of employment to check criminal history, the process is more fair and unbiased. EEOC guidelines also require that employers only consider criminal acts that have a direct impact on the open position and have been committed in the past 7 years.

Many states have enacted legislation to “ban the box”. Some have limited it to state employers, while others are expanding it to the private sector. Either way, many private companies are being proactive and creating policies that follow EEOC guidelines on this issue.

It seems to many that the pendulum now swings in favor of the employees over that of the employer. We don’t believe it needs to be viewed that wayIn fact, “ban the box” can be as good for the company as it is for the applicant.

Here are 2 Ways Opting to “Ban the Box” May be Good for Your Business:

“Ban the Box” Can Save You Money - By only running a criminal background check on the applicants given a conditional offer of employment, companies will be reducing the amount of time and money spent on these investigations.

Since “ban the box” only covers criminal records, applicants that are given conditional offers would have already been determined to meet all other requirements of the job.  Their education, past employment, references, and skills should have been verified prior to that conditional offer.

“Ban the Box” can Protect You from Litigation - Companies that employ “ban the box” are more likely to have a sound policy in place concerning criminal background checks.

They would have determined what prior criminal activity is detrimental to the safe performance of the job’s duties, written guidelines to adhere to the “7 year” rule, and made sure all applicant’s sign a release prior to running the criminal background check. Such companies also would be careful to notify the applicants of any adverse findings and give them the opportunity to disprove or mitigate them.

Employing these practices can lessen the likelihood of EEOC investigations into your hiring practices. It can also help avoid lawsuits based on employment discrimination from rejected applicants.

This is why “Ban the Box” does not have to be seen as a negativeOver time, most things in life and in business run on an undulating path - much like the swing of a pendulum. While right now many business owners may think that the pendulum is fixed on the rights of the applicant, the reality is that "Ban the Box" can benefit both.

Authored by

To learn more about how you can use Background Checks to help your Small Business, be sure to check out our Website

You can also find out more About Us and our Hiring, Business Mentoring, and Security Consulting services tooMessage us through our Contact Page to find out what API can do for You and Your Business!