If you feel like there is a new social networking platform created every day, you’re not alone. New platforms crop up on a regular basis; some are targeted by industry or demographic, while others are better suited for consumers and personal use only. One platform that is fairly new to the scene that you should check out is Alignable. Alignable connects business owners to each other and the resources they need to succeed. So how can small businesses use Alignable to get more customers? Here are a few ways to get started and get the most out of this platform.
Getting started on Alignable
The first action you need to take on Alignable is created a business profile. Here are a few items you should have on hand so you can easily set up your profile:
- A brand image – this can be your logo, your picture, or any other image you feel illustrates your brand. At a minimum, you will need to upload your logo and banner image for your profile.
- Information about your company – who you are and what you offer
- Information about your ideal customer – a description of your ideal client
- A list of relevant tags – Alignable allows you to add different tags for your Alignable profile:
- Category & Feature Tags- You can add one category tag and two feature tags; these will not only be showcased alongside your business name all over Alignable, but they’ll also be featured on your Referral Card when it is sent to both members and non-members.
- Ideal Customer Tags– You’re given the option to add as many tags as you would like to describe the customers that you would like to find on Alignable as well as tags describing the businesses you would like to work with.
- Product & Service Tags– You can describe the Products and Services you offer.
- Description of your products and services
- Contact information
- Events and promotions (if applicable)
Start connecting with people on Alignable
Once you’ve got your profile where you want it, start connecting with other people on Alignable. There are a few ways to do this. You can use the “help my network” or “my network” buttons to find businesses near you that you may recognize. You can search by suggested, nearby, categories, or new businesses to Alignable. Know businesses that should be on Alignable but aren’t? Go to the “My Business” button in the top right-hand corner where you picture is and choose “Invite Businesses”. Just a heads up: they’ll ask for access to your email account or social network contact list, so keep that in mind if you use this feature.
Get and give Alignable recommendations
Recommendations are one of the most powerful features on this platform and one of the main drivers of referrals on Alignable. When you have recommendations on your profile, other Alignable members can see that you are trusted and referred by other local businesses in your community and will be even more attracted to contact and potentially hire your business. This is the ultimate in word of mouth advertising!
More ways to use Alignable to get customers
There are other features you should check out once you get the basics of Alignable down, including:
- My community
- Q&A forum
- Upgrading to Premium for more features
Let’s dig deeper into some of the features we’ve just highlighted to really leverage Alignable.
Clicking the “new businesses” tab ensures that you are reaching out to active profiles. You can also, as mentioned before, import your contacts from LinkedIn or your email address book to find more friends you know. Just a note: if you’re using the free version of Alignable (and you should until you get the hang of it) you’re limited to how many new connections you can reach out to connect to each month, BUT your imported contacts don’t count!
An often-overlooked feature of Alignable is the Q&A forum section. This is a great way to show off your expertise, answering questions that people are asking, or you can post your own questions as well. This can really showcase you as a subject matter expert if you’re willing to commit the time. Once you’ve connected with a several businesses, start a promotion. Alignable will alert your entire network whenever you post. And of course, Alignable is the ideal place to find any services your company needs such as small business marketing, accounting or local professional services.
Alignable should be treated like any other lead source. Meaning, put a thoughtful effort into the platform, communicate professionally and regularly, and track any leads you get from Alignable, so you can see how your efforts are paying off for the time and energy spent. Between getting recommendations and referrals from other businesses, getting bites from promotions or events you post, and attracting people through your forum participation, you can really leverage Alignable to get more customers.