Alignable is a 3+ year old company based out of Massachusetts that is focused on helping local businesses with social networking. The way they do that is simple.
Alignable has an algorithm, fancy word for a way to calculate automatically, to pick up small businesses in a 5-10 mile radius of the subscriber.
This is based on the premise that most small business owners want to draw from a local network.
Social Networking for Small Business Owners Drives Traffic Faster
Faster than what, you might ask?
Social Networking for small business owners up to now has been typically laying out their business cards at local coffee shops and bulletin boards, joining and/or attending various networking events or whenever the mail goes out.
That hasn’t been very effective as more and more small businesses pop up on the scene.
The name of the game in business of any size is to drive traffic.
Without traffic coming in or calling or ordering online, businesses close.
Small business owners often rely on social networking to help get the word out that their doors are open and they are ready to serve, sell or solicit for your patronage.
Some of the popular networking affiliates, such as BNI, or Business Network International, or Powercore (a regional networking group in Georgia) have stipulations regarding the exclusivity of each business category represented in their weekly meetings.
This has created some stress on areas where business owners like realtors, dentists or home remodelers for instance might not get into a networking meeting fast enough and have to leave.
As such, social networking gaps were being filled in my the popular upstart, called Meetup Groups.
Too often, though, is the business meetup groups might draw or attract business owners from long distances, those exceeding 5-10 miles.
Some business owners coming from the north side of town, for instance, to attend the meeting might not want to travel another similar or greater distance to meet with networking contacts after the initial meeting, and vice versa.
Introducing Alignable, social networking for small business owners
In order to appreciate Alignable, let’s look at popular social media sites and see where they stack up with respect to the social networking for small business owners seen with Alignable.
First on the list is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn was the first social media site that was wholly dedicated to strictly business to business networks.
It seemed like the perfect answer until it turned into a glorified job fair online.
LinkedIn has its place in identifying the movers and shakers in business worldwide and has approximately 70 million subscribers worldwide (source for quote and infographic below)
Although LinkedIn has been trying to attract more small businesses and make their involvement more attractive, their impact is more likely overwhelmed by the larger companies and conglomerates of the marketplace.
So, expecting LinkedIn to satisfy the social networking for small business owners isn’t a realistic marketing strategy today.
Next on the list is Facebook.
I know what you’re thinking: Facebook doesn’t fit the mold for social networking for small business owners, but it is starting to take shape with the increasingly popular Facebook groups for local communities.
Facebook has always had groups in their 12 years of existence, as far as I know.
Initially a more “mature audience” gravitated to Facebook as the mother of all social media sites, MySpace, was vastly overgrown with teens and weirdos, not to say that teens are on the same level as weirdos.
Facebook quickly became a social networking for small business owners, until the teens and young adults came over after MySpace started losing market share.
Facebook today has 1.7 billion active users (source) and some of those people are small business owners looking for local social networking in which to engage.
Facebook has answered the call for social networking for small business owners with Facebook Groups.
More specifically, these groups entail people advertising garage sales and yard sales and classic car clubs, etc.
For example, the garage sale groups on Facebook have been found to attract people whose business benefits from those who joined, such as:
- Home Improvement
- Pest Control
- Tree Service
- Window cleaning
- Pet care
- Pools and Spas
I bet some people who are looking for a local social networking for small business owners are licking their chops over this one idea alone!
Still, Facebook is a great place to advertise your small business, if done correctly, and is a great source of traffic for lead generation purposes.
Overall, though, the social media giant has allowed too many hostilities to be exchanged on individual timelines to the point where people stay away.
The other downside, a big one actually, is the amount of time lost reading and answering posts on Facebook.
Another couple of sites that small business owners have been incorporating into their social networking are Instagram and Snapchat.
These are in their infancy, relatively speaking, for social networking for small business owners at the time of their posting but have considerable potential for the future, according to some business analysts.
That’s fodder for future blog posts.
Lastly, the 3 remaining social media sites: YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter, are very vital platforms showing excellent potential for small business owners to network socially.
These three sites, speaking from a viewpoint of search engine optimization (SEO), have more to do with providing the “link juice” to their websites and personal blogs.
Link juice is primarily described as the fuel additive to websites to make them more searchable on search engines like Google, Bing and YouTube.
As with the aforementioned social media sites, the one common denominator for them all is their lack of possessing the true “local level” feel for social networking.
Alignable, in my opinion, is the best social networking for small business owners today
Alignable has already proven to me that I, as a small business owner, can attract people’s attention simply by posting my profile for free, where other social media sites charge premium prices to do.
That to me is a no-brainer.
It took a little time to accumulate and organize what I wanted to add to my Alignable page but I learned much of that from the other social media sites I mentioned earlier.
Trial and error is still a good teacher.
In advertising for local businesses, we typically find an authority site or “anchor store” like a grocery store or church or school to draw a 5-10 mile radius around and make that the business marketing area.
Some businesses, like hair salons and pizza delivery businesses for instance, cannot compete for business outside that 5-mile radius as the typical consumer won’t drive farther nor expect timely service from beyond that point.
Why, then, would a local business owner want to invest in advertising in radio, television, newspaper or internet if it’s covering too broad of an area?
As you, my faithful readership, must surmise at this point, I see tremendous value with Alignable as the best social networking for small business owners and encourage every owner to join today!