Alignable is a small business referral network that encourages business owners to build relationships within their business communities, with a focus on increasing brand recognition and word-of-mouth referrals for their business. It is much like a social media platform for small business owners to network with each other.
Alignable has been around since 2014, has 6 million registered businesses as members of the platform, is US-based and with more than 30,000 local communities. It leads with the business brand first but then shows the people behind the business. You can add a logo and a picture at the top like your storefront. It lets you add products or services you offer, events and pictures. Groups are formed around common interests and give members a place to interact, post articles, and ask questions. Alignable is similar to LinkedIn but designed for small businesses. Both have their unique opportunities for networking, but I’ve found Alignable to be a great option to connect with other sewing related businesses that feels a little less overwhelming.
It is free to set up a profile, but Alignable does offer paid premium accounts if you find it works well for your business. One word of caution: Alignable, similar to many other platforms, will try to upsell you on the paid accounts and may seem overly aggressive with email frequency, so be sure to adjust your notification settings if you find you are getting more emails than you prefer.
Interested in joining? Take a look at the profile for ASDP, read more about Alignable, and decide if you want to try it out.
Visit ASDP on Alignable
5 Steps to Getting Started With Alignable
1. Set up your profile.
Alignable strives to be conversational so there is a place for your logo and a headshot. The photo of you will appear when you comment, communicate, and answer questions in the Forum. Take the time to carefully describe your business and select the tags that best represent what you do and who you want to work with. Remember to fill out your products and services. This is a great opportunity to clearly define what you offer.
Set up your profile before you connect to people or invite people to join you on Alignable. I would not just invite everyone in your email or LinkedIn list, but pick people that are open to trying new things or are already on Alignable that you know. Select people to join or connect with that are valuable to you. Their value comes from being a good business person that you feel has something positive to offer in their products and services and the way they do business.
2. Learn the Platform
Take a little time to learn how the system works. You can check in on your network, give and get recommendations, and participate in Groups by answering questions posed by the members.
Alignable likes to keep in touch with you via email to encourage your participation but you may find that you’re getting tapped too often. Go in and adjust your email settings so that you are getting the notifications that are beneficial to you.
3. Give Recommendations
Look at your connections and identify the people that you know and would happily recommend to people for products or services. Your recommendation doesn’t need to be more than a couple of sentences, but it should tell why you think they are worth paying attention to and why someone would want to do business with them.
What you are doing is paying it forward. You are bringing positive, and valuable, attention to your connections and contributing support into our business communities!
4. Answer Questions
Alignable will send you questions from people who are in your field. They may or may not be connections, but your connections will see your answers. By participating in the Forum and Groups you are sharing your expertise and keeping your name top of mind.
You don’t have to answer every question Alignable sends you, but if you feel you have a positive and helpful answer, then go for it. We’re all in this together and there is likely a time when you’ll be interested in finding out a best practice from another professional. Understand that this is not the place to bait people to work with you or to sell your product. This is where you can ask or answer sincere questions about doing business better.
5. Commit to It
I understand that you’ve got your fingers in a lot of social media right now and you’re thinking that one more will put you on overload. If you want to give Alignable a good test, I suggest you make a plan: devoting about 10 minutes each work day (taking weekends off), find 3 businesses a week and write a thoughtful recommendation, etc.
Just plug it into your calendar, set the timer, and see what happens when you start planting a local seed. You’ll most likely find that your network will expand and you’ll develop some great camaraderie within your community. And I hope your business will improve.