About a year ago, I received an email notification from a new online business network. Since I receive countless invitations to many services daily, the notification went ignored. Only after receiving several more invites to the service from other businesses I trusted, did I take the time to look through Alignable and make an account. In only a matter of moments, I was hooked by this local business network and what it had to offer.
Mediaryte on Alignable
We are excited to make your connection!Visit The Mediaryte Profile
The point of Alignable is to establish connections in your local business area to do some real world business networking. This is a concept that I wholeheartedly stand behind and teach to Mediaryte clients and associates. Business networking is a vital part of building a business and tools that focus strictly on the local aspect can be hard to find. Alignable has been the first true local business network that has garnered any traction in our area. Let’s take the time to cover what makes Alignable great for your local small business.
Like any social network, you should look for those in your network you all ready know or do business with. You can invite your contacts by connecting your email account or importing an email list. This will send your contacts an email invitation, which links to your profile and gives steps for creating an account on Alignable.
You can also seek out other business contacts by using the My Network and My Community sections of Alignable. In My Network, you are given a list of suggested connections based on your location and existing connections. You can also see what connections are nearby, by categories, and new businesses in your area.
In the My Community section, you can look at the recent activities of connections in your local community. This includes questions and answers by other users in the Q&A Forum, new businesses that have recently joined your community, and view the businesses in other cities nearby. You will also have the ability to browse the local business directory, the community event calendar, available services, and the local Q&A forum.
Your business reputation is on display in Alignable via the business recommendations. Consider it to be the currency of doing business through Alignable. The more recommendations you have, the more trustworthy and creditable you will appear to other businesses and prospects. I always suggest giving recommendations to your connections. This will warm your connections up to reciprocating the recommendation. Also, it never hurts to share the love and give before you receive.
Once you reach five recommendations on your Alignable profile, you will be considered Highly Recommended. This is the first milestone currently available to Alignable profiles and it is an important one too. When your profile reaches Highly Recommended, your connections are notified of the achievement. The action of this notification has a compound effect, where your profile can get additional incoming recommendations from the boost in attention. I hope to see higher levels of recommendation milestones in the future.
Help Others & Get Advice
An awesome feature of Alignable is the Q&A Forum for all users. This online forum is open to all Alignable users from around the country, broken up into categories for marketing, professional development, and general questions and answers. You can easily post a question and receive multiple answers throughout the day and week.
Another great benefit to the Q&A Forums is having the opportunity to help others through your own skills, education, and advice. The forums are full of questions, which require simple to complex answers. If you provide the best answer, your fellow Alignable users will give your answer likes, resulting in your answer becoming highly visible and receiving even more likes and responses. It is truly the best way to build trust and rapport with other Alignable users.
In late 2017, I was awarded the Alignable Top Contributer in Marketing recognition for my efforts in answering questions of my fellow Alignable users. Yay me! *Pats self on back*
Seek out and connect with other local small businesses
Unlike the traditional sentiment of LinkedIn, Alignable is not about who you already know. Don’t be shy on Alignable. We are all professionals here, so it is in your best interest to reach out and connect with Alignable users you would like to build a relationship with. Always be professional and courteous as well. Alignable is an amazing tool to see what businesses are out there and are interested in building relationships with others.
Use the My Community section of Alignable to see all of the active businesses near you. Alignable has a great notification that uses professional etiquette for asking for a new connection, asking to meet, and even asking for a recommendation. Use this system to build a strong following on the network and in your local business area.
If you are a BNI member like I am, you can use Alignable to find new professionals and businesses you can invite to visit your chapter. This is a great way to show your professionalism beyond Alignable, but also to shepherd newer business professionals into business referrals, business networking, and professional development through BNI.
Getting the most out of your Alignable small business profile
Your Alignable profile is a great asset for establishing your business as the premier, authority for your products and services in your local area. Your profile features many sections that should be given value for other Alignable users to see.
Build up your profile
The Alignable profile overview has 3 parts: About Us, How We Got Started, and Our Ideal Customer. What I love about this section is it gets straight to the point without wasting the time of Alignable users.
In the About Us section, tell other users what your business can and will do for customers. There is no need to beat around the bush. Keep it simple to read and understand.
How We Got Started
For the How We Got Started section, give users the reason for your passion in your business and align your vision with your products and services.
Our Ideal Customer
In the Our Ideal Customer section, briefly describe your most common customer OR the type of person you do business with. Do not get too wordy here. It is best to keep this short and sweet. The less you have to say about your ideal customer, the easier it is for users to envision who that customer is.
Business tags can be assigned by the categories you chose, but also individually added as well. Keep in mind that the Alignable system will add tags automatically, so it is a good idea to clear out any inaccurate tags from your profile.
Contact info, website, and Facebook page
Make sure your contact information is accurate and contains all of the necessary parts: Mailing OR Location Address, Main Phone Number, Website Address, and Facebook URL. Alignable users will take a look at your website and Facebook, so make both of these items match the message and business of your Alignable account.
Show off your portfolio with the gallery
The Alignable profile gallery is a great way to give users a visual of your products and services. You are given 24 spaces to add items, which include a photo and description. If you go beyond 24, only the most recent 24 gallery items will be visible. When a user clicks on a gallery thumbnail, the full image and description will be displayed. At minimum, fill the first row of your gallery with a small showcase of completed work or product views. You can also create graphics of customer testimonials, info graphics, or create short team member profiles.
Forum activity and participation
The Our Team section of your Alignable profile will list the team members who have accounts on Alignable. This can cause some issues if you list your entire team. Each team member requires an account, with password and an email. You can choose with Alignable account is the main business account by selecting “This profile is the face of the business.” If you do not wish to manage multiple Alignable accounts, it is best to leave your team with one member, and use the gallery to show your team members.
List your team members
Obviously, you have created an Alignable account to be able to get more business, so it is important to be able to show what products and services your business has to offer. Alignable gives you the option of creating profiles of your products and services individually, including a cover photo, description, share link, and a like button. Your products and services profiles are then published to your business profile and your connection feed for all connections to see. In addition, your connections are notified via email when you publish a new product or service.
Highlight your products and services
Another section of your Alignable business profile includes what businesses you recommend. These can be other Alignable business profiles you have done business with or recommend based on relationship, among other experiences. It is best to give a recommendation with a message in order for other Alignable users to understand the context of your recommendation.
The businesses you recommend
Last in your Alignable profile is your Q&A Forum activity list. This is a great newer feature of the business profiles as it shows your level of expertise and community participation from the answers you give. It also will show any questions you may have asked the community, which can give other users great insight into how your business is growing and where it is heading.
Alignable has been a great breath of fresh air for local small business, which has gone mainly ignored by many other online professional networks. With local small business being at the heart of the US economy, it is services like Alignable that will help build stronger small business through connections, word-of-mouth marketing, and keeping business local. I look forward to seeing what is next with Alignable!
In what ways is your local small business using Alignable?
Leave your answer and feedback in the comments section below.
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