A Year on Alignable: Sharing Our Success Story to Guide Yours

Written by Hoot Host Founder Christopher Carbaugh

Many business owners ask for advice on how to best use Alignable. I am often asked how I “cracked the algorithm” or mastered Alignable to find such success on the platform, and what secrets I can share.

The truth is, I didn’t figure out anything, I’m far from a master, and I’m not up at 3AM staring at Alignable either. In fact, we’ve only been on Alignable for one year! However I did follow some basic networking strategies, always made sure I put people first, led with positivity, and always prioritized building relationships first. Then, most importantly, just made sure Hoot Host provided the best service possible to the businesses we support.

In less than one year as a member, Hoot Host has had some great success on Alignable including:

• Over 100 Alignable Businesses Supported by Hoot Host
• A Top Rated Website Vendor on the Alignable Marketplace
• Over 1000 Profile Connections
• 600+ Hoot Host Community Group Members since launching in September 2023
• Leadership of 3 additional Alignable website-related groups
• Featured speaker on multiple Alignable Education webinars
• Multiple referral and affiliate partnerships formed
• Over 125 Alignable Member Recommendations and Reviews

What makes Alignable such a great platform?

Let’s start with the big disclaimer that often comes up – Alignable is not LinkedIn! As a millennial business owner, I frankly can’t stand LinkedIn. There is no sense of community, belonging, or relationship building. LinkedIn has evolved into an overly complicated, mass marketing, constant pitch posts, and job listings platform. All with dramatically way too much spam and fake users. Many people see LinkedIn as a corporate Facebook at it’s absolute best. Enter Alignable, the relationship focused, small / medium business networking, online community platform. I say online community strategically because Alignable has done a great job at being just that – a simple online community that brings together businesses and business owners. When comparing the two, it is often said LinkedIn is the suit-and-tie corporate America platform, while Alignable feels more wholesome and organic like your online local cafe.

Yet that focus on organic relationship building is what makes Alignable such a great platform! Between both geographic networking and Alignable’s groups, a business owner can expand their regional awareness and connect with others based on interest, industry, or target market. Plus discover completely new groups and events to further enhance their business education and opportunities. All while interacting within a conversation and relationship focused platform that helps them gain connections and grow their reputation. Creating an authentic and more human means of networking and promoting their business.

For those looking to hire or find a professional to help their business, there is the Alignable Marketplace. Here is where you can find both local and national businesses to connect with and inquire about their services. A user can easily find service providers by location or industry, review their recommendations, and reach out through a simple lead form. Even see highlighted services and promotions directly on a company’s profile. All making for a streamlined way to find the help you need from a reputable service provider.

So how did Hoot Host rise in the Alignable ranks so quickly? One word: Relationships!

In January of 2023, our lead content manager Kim recommended we focus less on LinkedIn / social media, and more on Alignable. We immediately launched a profile, learned the system, figured out group rules and guidelines, and got to work making connections and building relationships.

We joined groups that were relevant to our industry and interests, connected with businesses in our target market, and aimed first to just be helpful and truly contributing to the online community. Even donating time and free services to businesses who legitimately needed our help. We contributed to groups by posting and commenting with our professional insights, industry news, ideas, and some fun too.

As the interactions increased, relationships were forged, and inevitably business from the Alignable community and vendor marketplace grew.

Our place in the community rose substantially as we contributed more and eventually became the leader of 3 different website-related groups. All of which I actively manage and am growing. Creating educational groups that help business owners with their website and online presence has been a fantastic experience on Alignable.

As our reputation actively grew into a highly reviewed and trusted business on Alignable, we were able to launch the Hoot Host Community Group as the only official partner of Alignable in the website category. In just a few months we have grown the Hoot Host Community Group to over 600 members and achieved a top rated spot nationwide in the vendor marketplace. We achieved this by focusing the Hoot Host group on the same basic principles we started on Alignable with. Be helpful, donate time and services, and build relationships. Through our monthly events, webinars, and the resources we share we are doing just that. We are not aiming for thousands of members, just a small but powerful group within Alignable helping business owners in need of website knowledge and support. Once we hit 1000 members we have a very special free giveaway happening!

All of our growth and success on Alignable comes down to always putting people, positivity, and relationships first!

So what advice would I give to other business owners looking for success on Alignable?

1. Success on Alignable is going to come from first understanding the platform and how to engage with others on it.

As a group leader I see many businesses who have been on the platform for a long time or are brand new who just don’t get it. They pitch their company and services constantly, design banner images with promotions and deals, and think they can advertise or pitch slap their way to success. This is not the Alignable way, and even I took a bit to learn this lesson. It is true that Hoot Host being an official Alignable partner, we are given some leeway on the platform to offer special deals and promotions. But beyond our own group or profile sharing the occasional promotion, I aim to never pitch. Instead I stick to just being helpful and a positive contributor to the community. Always start with putting people first by sincerely trying to help and contribute without selling yourself or your services.

2. Be a leader and lead with positivity!

Whether online or in-person, networking is a human experience – and with millions of people on Alignable, you are going to meet a wide variety of individuals. It is important to remember when posting, sharing, or just commenting on topics to always follow Alignable’s terms of service, engage as a professional, and lead with positivity.

While Alignable does have millions of users, groups can feel particularly small and reputations are pretty quickly gained. Especially among those of us who are very active (and some who are too active). In my experience as a group leader, anything but being professional and positive doesn’t seem to do very well. It is how you build trust, credibility, gain referrals, and be someone others are happy to collaborate with. As your reputation on Alignable grows, you want others to know you are a legitimate expert in your field, but also just a trusted business leader who is easy to engage with.

As you grow into a known leader, you will see your contributions in the Alignable community positively influence your business. Your reputation on Alignable can directly affect your business for the better. I take a lot of pride in the reviews and recommendations Hoot Host receives where members repeatedly mention kindness, trust, empathy, and Hoot Host being a positive team to work with. Of course we do great work and make results, but our company culture and our team create a positive working relationship Alignable members can trust. This is huge! It goes a long way toward your business success story, especially on Alignable where relationships are everything.

3. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships!

Can’t say it enough, Alignable is all about relationships! Once you understand the platform and engage with other professionals the right way, relationships start happening – and happening quick! The power of referrals and partnerships on Alignable is huge! A large percentage of the new business that Hoot Host gained from Alignable in our first year came directly from a referral, affiliate partnership, or direct recommendation. Again, the pitching and self-promoting stuff just doesn’t work on Alignable! What does work is engaging with positivity, showcasing your expertise by being legitimately helpful to others, and building relationships. This is the #1 ingredient for success on Alignable!

What’s next for Hoot Host and Alignable?

Moving into 2024 I will be a speaker on more Alignable Education webinars, continuing to grow the Hoot Host Community Group, and creating even better benefits for those who join our group or sign up with Hoot Host through Alignable. All while continuing to be a leader on the platform devoted to helping others find their own success. Sure we are proud of the growth Hoot Host has experienced from Alignable, but the interactions and relationships from Alignable are worth even more. Especially when seeing others find their own success from our help.

I will be committed to monthly webinar and connect events in the Hoot Host Community Group throughout 2024. As well as the larger Alignable Education webinars that go on the Alignable Learn platform. We provide these webinars for educational purposes, helping business owners learn about growing their online presence, building an effective website, marketing, search engine optimization, and so much more. We have a lot of exciting webinars already planned for 2024!

The Hoot Host Community Group is growing with new users daily because we share helpful resources, articles, and offer special member benefits completely for free. We recently launched our HootSafe Website Compliance free service helping Alignable members achieve ADA, WCAG, GDPR, and CCPA compliance totally for free. No sign up necessary. We will be launching similar free benefit offers throughout 2024 to continue helping Alignable members find the results and success they are looking to achieve.

Plus we will continue to offer our first month free Website Builder plans for Alignable members!

As Hoot Host continues to grow on Alignable I recognize a responsibility to help build a community that continues to share those core principles of putting people first, being helpful, and building relationships. Hoot Host will always focus on doing just that by helping others find their own success and creating a better experience for everyone who joins us on Alignable.

We have a lot of exciting plans for Alignable in 2024. Join us at: https://www.alignable.com/monterey-ca/hoot-host