“Not another platform I have to be on!” – said all small business owners everywhere
Yes, this is another platform to spend time on. And that’s the last thing we need! But I want you to hear me out because Alignable might be a better use of your time than other social media tools.
Alignable is a networking platform that caters to local business networks. You can think of Alignable like LinkedIn but for local networking.
Unlike social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, you don’t need a content strategy or plan. You don’t need to promote yourself. But engagement is key to getting the most out of Alignable.
The first thing you do after creating an account is to set up your profile. Adding in as much detail to your Alignable profile is helpful. This will help others know who you are and what you do. Also make sure your profile picture is a photo of you! Make it clear and show your full-face. You can add your logo in your cover photo. But your profile photos should be a headshot.
Then start building out your network. You will be automatically linked with your local group of business owners. The free version connects you with a network of businesses within 6 miles of your network. If you upgrade your membership to a paid plan, your network expands further. You can also upload your email address book and invite your contacts into your network. I recommend against automatically inviting your entire address book! Select those that can give you positive recommendations or those that you can refer people to.
You can also give and receive recommendations to other small businesses on Alignable. Find businesses on Alignable that you can write recommendations for. Even if you already wrote them one on LinkedIn, just copy and paste it over. Reaching out to past clients and customers and asking them directly for an Alignable recommendation is also a good idea. I would also say you don’t need to have necessarily used their services or products before to give a business a recommendation. Remember this is a recommendation, not a review. So think of it like you telling a friend that you know someone that offers a service or product they are looking for. You personally know this person and know they are trustworthy and good at what they do. Then you can offer a recommendation! For example, a colleague photographer who I am in a peer mentorship group with is also on Alignable. We each wrote a recommendation for each other. I know her work ethic, her purpose and her work even though I have never been a client. And I would recommend her as a photographer to friends in her market.
You can also directly refer a business to someone else on Alignable. Let’s say you are in a group and someone asks for an accountant referral or a good auto mechanic in Raleigh, and you know someone who would be great! Go to that business’s profile and click the Refer button. It will open a popup and you’ll be able to send a digital business card with that business’s information. This is also why it’s important to have a complete profile! When a referral is sent, you want them to be able to easily get in touch with you! It’s also a good idea to turn on your notifications for Alignable so you can reply to messages from potential customers quickly!
Another great way to engage in Alignable is in the Advice forum. From what I read, LinkedIn used to have a feature similar to this but did away with it. I think the Advice tool is a standout feature for Alignable. This is where you can ask questions on topics related to your local market, general business questions or questions related to your industry. The forum allows others to share their experiences and expertise. It’s also an opportunity for you to share your thoughts, opinions and expertise on topics other members are posting.
There are other ways to engage on Alignable as well that promote your business in a helpful way. Alignable shares local events. If you have a workshop, promotion or other event occurring, you can add it to the local event calendar for people in your network to see. You can also add products and services to your profile. These populate in the My Community tab. They show up as a feed according to when they were posted. They also populate in your profile.