When I received an email invitation from Alignable, I pushed it aside and tagged it to “look at later”. I figured it was another trendy hopeful like Foursquare or Myspace that would become the next footnote in the social world and given this I figured, “why even bother?”
On a rare day when I had a little extra time on my hands, I decided to do a mini-probe and see what this was all about. I was impressed, for a newer social media platform, they really had their act together. Well laid out, easy to manage, and has a great outlet for Q&A.
Let’s do this, I thought to myself, and I signed up and started setting my profile up. Simple, elegant, and quick… I liked it but wasn’t 100% sold just yet. It was the first date, and though I was impressed I still felt that my time was spend better elsewhere.
We’ve all had that old dating partner, the one we’ve known for years, who can be distant and full of themselves at times, but remains familiar and safe and keeps you from wanting to make a change. Well, my old partner was LinkedIn. LinkedIn had me hooked, and I simply couldn’t let go. We’d been dating since 2003 and over the years had changed and grown together. I flirted with Alignable, similar to my sporadic dates and occasional text with Facebook and Twitter. It wasn't like LinkedIn and I was exclusive, especially with all the other players in the field.
Like most old flames, my relationship with LinkedIn eventually went sour, and a breakup became apparent.
What was I to do? I needed a business platform. I needed a way to voice my concerns, to connect with like-minded businesses, and to hopefully show my knowledge and abilities to a solid business community.
As I looked at my options, no others came as close to Alignable.
As I really dug in and deepened my knowledge of this potential partner, I found what I was looking for. Not only did I find my perfect match, but I realized that Alignable was way better than my former partners in every single aspect. I completely severed my ties with LinkedIn, and decided to go full throttle with Alignable, and here is what I found:
- Business Focus? 100%
- Getting Slammed with Offers? Not Going to Happen
- Strong Forum with a good balance of rules and freedom? BAM!
- Community Support? Yes, for your contacts and yes for your actual community of businesses
- A platform really focused on helping members succeed? It's there and in multiples!
But here is the real beauty of Alignable, the secret sauce, if you may, is that it will best serve you and your business if you serve it….
Much like a relationship, it really is exactly what you put into it. Alignable is the perfect business companion, eager to become the best place to connect, learn, and grow… but it will not budge until you show what you are willing to give also, which I love. You have to put in the work, once you do, you’ll see the benefit.
On Alignable you have three basic areas to work in:
- My Network: here is where all your connections and potential connections are
- My Community: this is your drill-down for local
- Advice forum: Both the overall nationwide forum as well as a local forum option
Here’s a bit more detailed information about how I use the three of them…
Definitely get to know this one. This is where you can look for the type of businesses that you want to connect with. Like industries, complementary industries, businesses that can help you and businesses that you can help. Make it a great mix.
I also personally try to look for people that are active on the site, it just makes good business sense to search for ones that will provide great content for you and you can do likewise.
This is a great resource for what is going on most current within your scope, the larger your network the better this is.
By far my favorite portion of the site because my participation here has given me the greatest return. In the forum, you can do nationwide or your local area. Nationwide is good for most questions. Local is best if you need a recommendation for a local vendor (florists, plumber, web designer, etc) as well as to talk about anything that is specific to your town (for example parking issues, local legislation, town robberies, etc).
In a similar vein to the Advice forum, you also have the Alignable Blog ( a great resource to both consume and share longer form advice) and the Brand Ratings section. Pro Tip: I recommend reading the brand rating page for any new brand you’re considering using. You can get some great ideas as to whether it will work for you just by reading people's responses.
On the actual forum piece: there are so many options here.
- Ask your own question
- Search for existing questions
- Offer your answer.
- Read other viewpoints
Remember, there is so much to do here. This is YOUR forum, own it…. This is where you can be an expert in what you know. Offer up your knowledge base, don’t hold back, full throttle in. You will find that there is so much you can offer and so much you can learn.
For me. I spend a good hour or so a day, searching, answering and getting to know my community. It has enriched my business life and has opened a lot of doors. Not only has the Forum given me new business and clients but it has also allowed me to do business with people that were way better choices than if I had selected whoever came up with a Google or Facebook search. It is truly a top source of help without all the clutter that is on other sites.
So, how has Alignable worked for me?
My goal is not to “sell” something or make myself look like a guru, or show my business acumen. My goal is to provide the very best of what I have in me. If I have something to offer, answer to a question, bring insight on the situation, or any other positive touchpoint, I provide it. Do I market on Alignable? Of Course, but it is not my main goal. This platform is built for people that want to contribute, build a community of trust and then do business with one another, in that order. Work within Alignable with that in mind, and you will get connections that want the same thing. I love it when my contacts reach out to me and we talk, 80% of the time either I become their client, or they become mine, either way, I am happy.
So far, I have been able to secure 6 new clients off Alignable and have 8 more in the pipeline.
In summary, I really feel I have found my home, my main source of business networking and a great learning experience. But you must show love, to get love, and you really don’t have to work hard for it. Let your experience with Alignable be a relaxed and enjoyable experience and I am sure everything will flow your way, just like it did/will for that life partner, nothing strained just a natural course to where you should have been all along.