You’ve probably heard of LinkedIn (and you may even have a profile), but have you heard of Alignable?

Alignable is one of the best-kept secrets in the small business world. The hyper-local online networking platform is a virtual chamber of commerce, designed to introduce local businesses to their neighbors down the street. It’s counter-intuitive to the virtual, digital world we work in, but that is exactly what makes it unique.

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Meeting the neighbors? How old-fashioned. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Alignable is designed for you to network within 5 miles of your community so you can get to know your neighbors, something that no other social network does. Think about your LinkedIn connections: do you know where most of them live? Have you met many of them in person? While you don’t need to meet someone to conduct business with them in 2016, you are more likely to work with people who you make a diligent choice to connect with, as opposed to blindly adding multiple connections.

Are you completely new to Alignable? We learned a few important tips firsthand from using the platform on a near-daily basis.

  1. Customize your introductory message. Alignable generates a message for you when you connect to another business, and it also generates a response when you accept a request to connect. While this is great to start a conversation, we have seen the same message over and over again. Yes, it’s “nice to e-meet you,” too, but nearly every single automated response we received has gone nowhere. Show your new connection you mean business — pun fully and completely intended — by sending them a personalized message when they accept your invitation to connect.
  2. Put your best foot forward. Offer a service with the website’s Promotions feature. By using the Promotions feature, you can highlight one of your best services or place attention on a major change at your company. For example, we are running a promotion for businesses based in Westchester or western/southern Connecticut through Sept. 18, 2016, a choice we made in order to highlight the opening of our second office in Westchester County.
  3. Join the discussion. Alignable has many active discussion boards, with the site’s admins themselves jumping into the conversation. This tactic, considered an “inbound marketing” tactic, gives you an opportunity to showcase your abilities without making a hard sell. By participating on the Alignable boards, an insurance agent can comment on a thread about purchasing plans, or a financial specialist can share some knowledge on a thread about offering 401(k) plans to employees.
  4. Use the mobile app to maximize your reach. Alignable has a mobile app that calculates your reach based on your location. This is extremely beneficial for professionals who travel a lot or who have multiple locations, as it allows you to connect to a larger, more diverse body. As a bonus, the mobile app extends your reach from 5 to 10 miles, effectively doubling your impact in the neighborhood.
  5. Use your extra connections carefully. Alignable gives each business a small handful of connections to use outside of the 5-mile radius. Choose wisely. Once these opportunities are used, you have to work to replenish them (you can invite contacts in your address book for more connections, for example). In order to increase your chances of establishing a fruitful connection, check for an active profile before you reach out.

We’ve been meeting a lot of new clients and strategic partners on Alignable, and it’s been especially helpful as we open our second location in Hastings on Hudson, N.Y. New clients in Westchester County and southern and western CT are eligible for special promotion pricing when they sign up for our services! Contact us to take advantage of this promotion or to learn how to incorporate Alignable into your social media strategy.