social media how toAre you using LinkedIn to grow your business?

With 161 million business members, LinkedIn provides a lot of opportunities.

The real value of LinkedIn for businesses is to connect one-to-one with other business professionals.

Why LinkedIn for Networking?

The Start-Up of You, a recent book co-authored by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, notes that companies don’t give you business – people do.

Many of your LinkedIn connections can introduce you not only to business influencers and partners, but also refer your company to new customers.

In the book, Mr. Hoffman also states a key point about business networking:

It’s better to be the best connected than the most connected.”

In addition to teaching you new skills, that’s what this article will help you accomplish.

A personal LinkedIn profile is commonly viewed as an online resume or digital business card, and using it for that is a good start.

However, you can take that further – going beyond LinkedIn’s basic capabilities – to build a more powerful means of attracting and managing your connections and professional online presence to encourage more business opportunities.

10 Tips for LinkedIn

The following 10 LinkedIn features and best practices will enable you to not just make connections on LinkedIn, but to leverage your network to become more visible, better engaged and armed with business intelligence that will accelerate the growth of your business.

These practices are organized into three distinct categories so you can realize the synergies of their combined benefits.

One point of clarity before we get started – all of these features are available with a standard, free LinkedIn account. More advanced features are available by upgrading to one of the premium accounts.

Optimize for Search Discovery and Ranking

A primary reason for having a complete and descriptive LinkedIn profile that speaks to your expertise and capabilities is to rank well in a general search. In fact, you may have discovered one of the easiest ways to look up business professionals online is to simply Google their name followed by the words “on LinkedIn.”

Taking that a step further, one particular advantage LinkedIn has over other networking sites is its internal search capabilities. You can improve your search discovery and ranking within LinkedIn in just a few short weeks when you optimize your personal profile with the following four tips.

#1: Use Appropriate Keyword Phrases in Your Heading and Title

Many people consider their LinkedIn heading to be synonymous with their title, but there is a difference. Your title is indeed important for being findable for a LinkedIn search, but your heading is a valuable opportunity for extending it further by emphasizing and elaborating on your skills, areas of expertise and your ideal customers.

heading title

Descriptive key phrases in headings reinforce skills and capabilities in your current title.

#2: Mirror Your Online and Offline Business Networks within LinkedIn

To maximize your benefit from LinkedIn, you should consider importing all of your online and offline business contacts into it, while also being diligent about making frequent updates.

Every network is a web of connections, which are known as social graphs – digital maps that lead new connections to you. When you import all of your other business contacts into LinkedIn, you not only ensure its completeness and relevance to reality, you also maximize the aggregate value of your LinkedIn network.

The following video on LinkedIn Maps illustrates how this works.

#3: Tag Your Skills and Expertise

While tagging your skills and expertise does not presently seem to make a significant difference for LinkedIn search, this may well be the case in the future after this feature moves out of beta. For the time being, consider tags to be additional information that may prove useful for someone who happens upon your LinkedIn profile.

tags of skills expertise

You can add up to 50 tags to identify your specific skills and expertise.

#4: Link to Your Websites with Keyword Anchor Text

LinkedIn provides the capability to link your personal profile to up to three websites or pages, including your company website, personal website or blog.

If this is done properly, you can have those links attached to your chosen keyword phrases, thereby further enhancing your search engine optimization (SEO) both within LinkedIn and on the open web. The secret is using the “other” category to enable this option.

This video will demonstrate how to maximize the value of the outbound links from your personal LinkedIn Profile.

Personalize for Engagement and Interaction

You can maximize your results from LinkedIn from the moment you make a new connection. This starts with having a profile that encourages others to engage with you –  one that presents you as interesting and approachable.

You already know that using conversational language and having an engaging profile picture make you more personal and attractive. If you are willing to invest a little more effort, the following three tips will prove to be invaluable for opening doors to new opportunities.

#5: Personally Welcome and Acknowledge Your New Connections

My experience is that few people acknowledge new connections with a personal reply, something that takes just a few seconds.

This is why this strategy is so valuable for developing relationships and standing apart from others who are just collecting connections.

#6: Add Video to Your Profile to Make it Come Alive

There are two applications for adding video to your LinkedIn profile – the Google Presentations app and the SlideShare app. Having worked with both, my experience is that the SlideShare app is more reliable.

If you know how to embed a video in a PowerPoint presentation, then you can easily put a video in your LinkedIn profile with the SlideShare app. You can embed the video in the first slide and set it to launch when your profile is accessed, or use the first slide to introduce the video.

This video will demonstrate how to add video to your personal LinkedIn Profile.

#7: Note Important Details and Opportunities for Next Actions

In the days before digital when we exchanged business cards at a networking event, it was a common practice to make a note on the card about such things as a particular opportunity to follow up on.

That’s the purpose of this feature. If you scroll down any profile you will find a field for inserting notes. Given that many of us have hundreds of LinkedIn connections, additional information can prove very helpful for personalizing your follow-up communications.

Organize for Business Intelligence and Networking

In many ways, LinkedIn is a database, customer relationship manager (CRM) and social business network all rolled into one. If you take the steps to refresh your personal profile on an ongoing basis, while also keeping all of your contacts current, you will get more out of LinkedIn than the average user.

As you know, your CRM is only as good as the information entered into it – and the next actions you take to use it. These final 3 tips will help you realize the full capabilities of LinkedIn now, and especially as new features are added.

#8: Tag and Filter Connections to Organize and Build Relationships

Asking for a favor when you first meet someone is not smart networking. Thus, tagging your connections so that you can share useful information and build value over time is a great way to build mutually beneficial relationships that will serve you well.

By classifying your connections as you add them, you will create a framework that allows for filtering them in ways that are advantageous to your networking strategy.

filter connections

Use tags to filter connections for higher-value interactions.

#9: Use Context to Acquire Business Intelligence

One way to use LinkedIn to acquire business intelligence is to study the interrelationships of your contacts. For example, if one of your competitors is connected to your new contact, then you can use that contextual intelligence to minimize risk – just as you also can discern potential opportunities from their second- and third-degree connections.

Another way to use the context of your network is for finding better LinkedIn groups. There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn, but your trusted connections can lead you to those that may be best-suited to you as a result of your contextual relationship.

new connection

New connections that you share groups with can introduce you to new ones.

#10: Periodically Update Your CRM with Data from LinkedIn

One of the challenges of CRMs is that you have to consistently enter fresh data to derive maximum value from them. Take advantage of the fact that most of your LinkedIn connections are keeping their contact information current by periodically importing that data into your CRM.

LinkedIn has a feature for downloading your connections into a CSV file (like an Excel file) that can then be imported into your CRM. If you do this at least a couple of times a year, you will always have the most current contact information at your fingertips for staying connected.

LinkedIn is a network designed for professionals, one in which the individual is the center of the ecosystem. This is why taking steps to fully enhance your personal profile is the surest strategy for making the most of LinkedIn for your business.

How about you?

What do you think? Which of these 10 best practices will help you get more business from your personal LinkedIn profile? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • Thanks for the info!!  I’ve always sent a personal greeting to new LinkedIn connections whether I invited them to connect or they invited me.  I do have a question about #7.  If I insert notes on a contact, does the whole world view that info or just me?

    Cindy : )

  • Great info Jeff. The video sounds like a good idea. I love the tip about downloading the contact database several times a year to make sure your contact list is fresh.

  • salientwork

    a great post jeff, thank you. how exactly do you export contacts from linkedIn into other apps? I’m thinking apple contacts here…

  • Helpfull article, always a great Network SocialMediaExaminer

  • #6 is good but a bit of a pain. Wouldn’t it be much easier if there was a way to just embed your YouTube URL directly into your Profile in the same way as you can with a company page on LinkedIn?

  • Dan

    Thanks for the tip on anchor text. I somehow missed it. Dan

  • Cindy – Those personal notes work like a charm, don’t they?  🙂

    To your other point, the notes are only visible to you.  Of course, one more reason to be sure you have a strong password.Jeff

  • When you click on connections there should be a link at the bottom that allows you to download to a CSV file (or whichever format works best for you).  CSV tends to be the most flexible. 

    The trick is making sure it is properly formatted for its destination.  So, most services will provide a template to help you out. 

    So, for clarity, Contacts tab, connections in the drop down menu, then Export Connections link in the lower right hand corner.

    Good luck!Jeff

  • Dan – That’s a big one.  I’m starting to see it more often, but you’ll notice its still not a mainstream practice yet. 


  • Laura Candelaria

    Thanks Jeff!  Loving InMaps!

  • Alan – There is the Google Docs app that allows you to pull in your YouTube videos.  This worked great for me for a while – and then mysteriously dropped off.  So, that’s the reason I switched to the Slideshare app.

    The problem with the Slideshare app is it feeds your most recent Powerpoint Presentation to LinkedIn.  So, if you load up a new one you’ll have to re-embed the one with the video such that it is the last one in. 

    Hope this helps. I’m not a programmer but do agree it should be a little more straightforward as you say. 


  • Thanks Pablo – Lots of folks tell me Social Media Examiner is there go to source for quality content!

  • Adam – I wish I could say I actually have been doing that – more like downloading once/year.  I now have it on my calendar to make it a regular habit. 🙂

  • Well done Jeff,
    it is absolutely a great resource!
    I am working at the number #6 as Alan and as
    many others professionals at the moment. I would say
    that a good video really makes the difference but I agree,
    it is a pain 🙂

  • Robinchance

    Video! Great idea!

  • If you are as nice and considerate online as you are offline, you will go along way. Simple things like using a persons name when you respond to your new connection, things we tend to forget, it’s too easy to simply click “accept”.

  • Cynthia Wenn

    I used tip #4 immediately. Thank-you

  • Welcome Cynthia!

  • Good explanation Jeff! I have seen people stuffing Keywords just to show up for that particular search term on Linkedin, which is not a good practice at all! I also liked your YouTube Channel, very simple to understand Videos. Keep up the good work!

  • Laura –  I was really fascinated by InMaps when I first learned about it.  Using it takes some time but it sure is a great way to connect the dots to new relationships. 

    That video is always favorably received when I use it in my presentations as it creates a nice visual that helps everyone “get” how their networks intersect. 

  • Neeraj – While keyword stuffing may not yet get one into trouble on LinkedIn, you would think its search qualities would naturally follow the trends of Google. 

    Besides, LinkedIn profiles that are overstuffed with keywords are simply a mess – not very user friendly at all.

    Thanks for the kind words!

  • Linda – Completely agree to keeping everything simple and friendly leads to more productive (and enjoyable) relationships. 


  • Cristian – Indeed, neither method is perfect at this point, but worth the effort given the fact that everyone loves video. 


  • Debrahermsmeier


    Great article – thank you! I already sent the video link idea to a connection who is a speaker. Question for you on how to add tags to individual profiles. How is this done? Simply by adding a note?

    Appreciate your help. I’ll look to connect with you on LinkedIn too.
    Debra Hermsmeier

  • Debra – To tag profiles go to the Contacts tab, then Connections in the drop-down menu, and then click on the connection where you can edit tags.  LinkedIn has recently made this feature a little easier by serving up a limited profile so that you don’t have to scroll down to add the tags. 

    Do connect on LinkedIn too!

  • Therese

    Hi Jeff, great I advice, no one ever seems to know the right answer, I have now updated my profile on linkedin hopefully that will help.
    Question: I have contacts and I would like to tell them more about my business but I dont want to do it as a SELLING tool in the first email.  How would you SOFT connect with them, I have not got a 100% answer on this. Can I put these contacts from Linkedin into my CRM and send newsletters out or do I have to ask there permission first??? I hope this makes sense…thanks again for the advice above…

  • Therese – BIG question indeed!  Yes, you can download those connections.  What happens after that gets complicated. 

    You are smart to avoid selling on LinkedIn – which we can define as ranging from solicitation of services to even the more benign – “check out my website.” 

    Give people a reason to check out your business by offering something of value in a conversational manner. For example, “did you know about this solution?” … or … “have you encountered this problem .. and how did you address it?”  Then you can share your perspective.

    I shared this article with a LinkedIn group whose focus is specifically LInkedIn. Nevertheless, I did not mention that I wrote it because I take a professional approach to LinkedIn.  My feeling is if they get some value from it and want to learn more they will seek out the author and find me that way.

    As for subscribing your connections to your list, I would advise against it. It’s an imposition. We all get too much email. You can ask for permission, but even that puts people in a spot, especially if they are friends who don’t want the confrontation of saying no. 

    The best scenario for telling people about your business is to get them to ask, and the most reliable way to do that is to talk about them – get a conversation going and find out how you can help them do more of what they want to do – or better.

    Does this help?

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  • Thank you for sharing these insights. Cheers!
    Mumbai, India

  • Happy to share Durlov!  Up late here in the US, which evidently is prime a.m.time in Mumbai. It has been 12 years since I’ve been to your country – hoping to return sometime soon. 🙂

  • MAC Design Inc.

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks a lot for sharing such a useful information. We have just updated couple of things suggested by you in our LinkedIn Profile.

  •  Jeff –
    This is a really a great post for businesses in general and for marketers in special. Keep posting.


  • Thanks
    for this informative post. I am sure it will prove beneficial for every
    business whether small or big build their businesses using LinkedIn. Videos are
    a great way to attract the attention of your potential customer to get
    connected to you. I really appreciate your endeavor to bring forth the tips to
    help budding businesses who aspires to build their online charisma through
    Social media like LinkedIn. 

  • Great tips Jeff and certainly linkedIn has great importance in seo and it also helps connecting with the targeted people and there you can learn new things regarding your industry with from other professionals from the the world.

    Its been worth reading the post!

  • Okay just tried out #5 pre-acceptance. Turns out the guy knows my sister and we had a nice, short but valuable exchange prior to my hitting “Accept”. We both identified areas where we could help each other out. For the 10 minutes it took out of my day, I think it’ll be a much better connection than those I’ve blindly accepted.

  • Michael Stetina

    Hi Jeff – Thanks for the GREAT guide! There has been a lot of interest in LinkedIn from our clients. It’s all becoming (rightfully) about the ROI of social media efforts, and I think anybody could increase their LinkedIn connections with these tips.

  • Thanks for the tips, Jeff. I never thought about adding a YouTube video to my profile, but I can see how professional that will look. Seems like a great way to stand out from the crowd.

  • Stephan – That’s cool.  It is often said there are no accidents.  Or as I just heard yesterday … “Chance favors the connected mind. ”

    Thanks for sharing that. 

  • John – It really works.  I get more clicks on my video from within LinkedIn than I do on average over at Facebook – probably due to the differences in the audience, with the LinkedIn crowd being more purposeful. 

  • Michael – Exactly, when you start to compare the ROI of the various sites, LinkedIn is much more predictable. 

    Great point!

  • Thank you Muhammad!

  • Suneeta – Thank you.  I actually enjoyed putting this together.  What works is worth sharing. 🙂

  • Excellent – glad to hear it. 

  • That’s the plan Yasir, gotta stay in the game. 🙂

  • Piotr Kulaga

    So one
    is busted and the other a pain and fraught with compromise in the
    event one would forget to refresh the embed chosen for LinkedIn. My
    advice Jeff, if you believe that videos would increase the value of
    LI profiles then improve the UX by developing a direct method of
    embedding media.

    are quite a number of other UX grievances and functionality
    compromises I’ve come across, but from my perspective the most
    valuable change I and my connections would readily benefit from would
    be a threaded presentation allowing for “replies” in group
    discussion forums, just like this one.

    Piotr Kulaga

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  • Marc Miller

     Unfortunately the Google Presentations application has not worked for over 6 months for adding video.  There is an open discussion with Google support on this problem. There has been increasing problems getting slideshare to work and there is some “conspiracy theories” that since LinkedIn bought slideshare that LinkedIn may require you to use for video.

    I have my own video that is on my LinkedIn page at

  • Therese,

    I’m in full agreement with the no email list part.

    Here’s one thing you can do, among many possibilities.

    You’re in business relevant groups, right? And you participate in them, yes?

    So make sure you have the option turned on so that others can see what you do on LinkedIn. Then when you answer a question in a group it will show up in your connections’ activity feed and potentially prompt a click-through.

    And make sure your profile is fully updated with what you want them to know about your business. Consider making your summary section a mini-sales page/pitch for you, not just a summary. What you currently have there doesn’t use the space as much as you can. If you don’t want to sell there then talk about why it excites you.

    While you’re at it, make it attractive for those people you’re talking to in groups to click through to your profile. I can’t tell what you DO from your headline. This is your BEST place to bring in new people who might never actually talk to you on LinkedIn but click through to your biz instead.

  • fcaballo

    This is an extremely helpful post. I especially liked the section on tagging connections. My assumption is that once Google+ came out with circles, and then Facebook followed with lists, it’s only natural that LinkedIn would want to offer that type of categorization for its users (especially since Twitter also offers lists). I hadn’t heard about tagging contacts until I saw this post. Thanks so much for all the information you presented here!

  • Every professional should have a Linkedin account. Professional networking really helps. It can be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one’s contact network.

  • Hi Jeff
    Thanks for this guide! I’ll be implementing #4 as soon as I am finished commenting here!
    I’ve been looking into the benefits of pulling LinkedIn contacts into CRM too, seems like the obvious solution to keeping your Contacts up to date. i guess you need to look into your CRM permissions are set up – so you don’t expose private and/ or confidential information to other users in your system.

  • Marc – I think I commented on Google Presentations earlier up above.  It’s too bad because it worked like a charm.  One day I checked in and my video was gone.  I tried multiple times after that and then just gave up and used Slideshare – which has been working well.  The problem with Slideshare is it feeds in the most current PPT presentation, which effectively holds your account hostage. 

  • Your welcome – and yes, great analogy to Google+ circles.  It allows you to reach out to the right groups and be more personal.  My problem is playing catch-up with my current 800+ connections.  

    But it will be worth the effort!

  • Good points Thomas.  I’ve got two CRM’s going so I’m playing around with the migration of data between them. It was very easy to migrate LinkedIn connections into my old CRM.  In fact, they even automatically tagged them as “LinkedIn.”

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  •  Yeah, though a novice social media marketer, yet I can understand this point. 🙂

  • Hi Jeff,

    Great post! I intend to dig more into LinkedIn, but I’m put off by trying to get new connections. More specifically by the “do you really know this person” disclaimer. I want to make connections but am not sure of the etiquette of it. I feel like I’m missing out on the potential of this social media avenue and that I can really make it work for me once I can get past this hurtle. Have you written anything on the etiquette of making connections on LinkedIn?


  • Good question Kris

    Here’s my take.  When you meet someone at a networking event the conversation often progresses to the point of exchanging business cards. What happens after that is pretty much what happens with most connections on LinkedIn – nothing!

    For this reason, there are many folks with thousands of LinkedIn connections – but little value can be derived from them. As mentioned in this article, the value comes from being better connected – not more connected. 

    I accept most connections – taking the business card exchange approach. And I connect with 100% of those who share a reason for connecting, such as being in the same industry, or having received value from an article I’ve written like this one. And even if they don’t mention it, if I note that we have something in common its an easy decision. 

    LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, so you don’t have to necessarily be friends with someone before connecting. 

    Beyond that everyone needs to set their own guidelines. I recently had a connection request challenged. Fair enough, so I explained what I believed we may have in common and it turns out a lot – we’ve exchanged several messages and have some future plans brewing. 

    I don’t thing there are any hard and fast rules.  You just have to find a way that works for you. 

  • Good point. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  • I’m not new to LinkedIn, but I feel that you have given me new info in each of your tips.  I’m going to renew my marketing efforts using LinkedIn armed with the information in this article. Thank you for this extremely useful information!

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  • Therese

    Hi Jeff, yes it does help, no one has been able to say yes or no and you have answered it right there. I will definitely start a conversation I have so many connections that will definitely benefit me doing that.
    Will keep you posted on how I go and thank you so much again…

  • Thank you for a very informative article +Jeff Korhan! (See what I did there…  🙂
    Is there a way to connect my business Twitterfeed to a LI business page?

  • You are welcome JC!

  • Thank you – please do!

  • Point 4 and 5 are my key takeaways from your post Jeff. I must say an awesome post and needs to be bookmarked. Besides this organizing my network connection in a free a/c i think is a pain. any thoughts on this. if i can do this then it would help me to share some important post to particular set of people.

  • Van Pappas

     I am having problems with adding video to my Slideshare presentation.  I uploaded a single slide PPT.  Once uploaded I edit in Slideshare and add a YouTube URL selecting the position before slide 1 drop down.  When I go to view the presentation I get the audio of the presentation, but no video.  What am I doing wrong.  Please help.

  • Well done informative article Jeff. Thank you for helping me improve my LinkedIn profile.  I’m very active on the network and like many commentators before mine agree that it’s important for professionals to remain active on LinkedIn.

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  • Maria – Most of this is simple.  It’s just a matter of knowing and then executing it well!

  • Prasant – Thanks for the feedback and kind words.

    Can you clarify what you mean by “a/c” and I’ll try to help?


  • Thanks Jeff i meant a free account(a/c)

  • Prasant – Gotcha. First, everything mentioned here can be done with a free account. 

    For what you are trying to accomplish, you’ll want to investigate #8 and tag your connections so that you can target specific messages. This will take some time, but will be worth the effort.

    Determine your categories now and tag all of your new connections – or at least the ones with the highest perceived influence. Over time you’ll catch up with tagging your older connections too as you come across them. 

    So, go to Contacts/Connections and click on each connection to tag it – area to tag will be on the right or lower right.  

    Let me know how this works. 🙂

  • Let me say first thank you for taking time and replying to me. I will give it a try, though would take little effort but then nothing is easy 🙂 Thanks Jeff.

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  • Love the idea of embedding a youtube video into Slideshare and spent about an hour this morning working to do just that. Then I found that because I’m on a Mac, it won’t work. The extension for inserting youtube videos is compatible only with PowerPoint for PCs, not Macs. One of the very few times I’ve found myself limited in the Mac environment. Will have to sponge off a friend’s PC. Or maybe wait for Google to buy LinkedIn so I can just embed the youtube video directly!

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  • Eric

    I’m curious to know which type of personal greetings you send to a new connection? ( do you mind to give an example )


  • Cindy, do you send notes to invitations to connect before accepting as well? I’d love to hear what people do for this technique, and possibly some sample text. I’ve been trying to do that using the following approach:
    a) look at their profile to see how we’re connected
    b) look at their websites and other profile related info to see if this could be a potential prospect, or if I know someone in my own network that might be able to do business with them (but truth be told, I want the prospects!!)
    c) write them a pre-acceptance note to the effect of ‘thanks for reaching out. I see we’re connected ___ [insert something else about that connection here].’ BUT here’s where I’m getting stuck…for part b) in my list above how do you approach this particular response without sounding salesy? After all they reached out to you first!

  • Rob – I use a Mac and have not had any trouble.  

    I’m wondering if its the version of PPT for Mac that you are on.  Let me know and I’ll see if I can get more information as well. 

  • Eric – Usually it’s a simple greeting – or I may notice something on their profile that we have in common. I have a call this week to discuss business as a result of this tactic.

    It definitely opens doors!

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  • Teresa Allen

    I have actually added all new LinkedIn connections to my constant contact list.  I know alot of people would think this is a ‘no-no’ but I have only had one or two spam reports out of thousands of connections – many of which made throught LinkedIn.  There is obviously an opt out statement at top of email.  On my input form I code each LinkedIn new connection to various email lists based on their industry/position which allows me to have a better way to connect and search based on that criteria since LinkedIn really doesn’t have a way to do that on the ‘free’ side.  I know some will disagree but it is working for me so I thought I would share.

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  • Thanks Jeff, Good layout for someone just starting and or long timer building things up.

  • Enzo’s

    Is it
    interesting to create a personal profile ( I mean a private profile) with the
    name of the company.( Not only a business profile).

    I will allow
    to go inside some group with the name of the company, and not with a private
    name of someone who working for the company.

    It could be
    better in order to create a stronger relationship with customer and community.

    What do you

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  • Nice videos Jeff real nice stuff with the SEO just wondering are those keyword anchor text link nofollow links or follow links

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  • Matt

    We have really been focusing on LinkedIn for marketing our business and found these tips to be extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!