Multi-Level Marketing or MLM is a marketing strategy based on networking. There are a number of MLM Companies nowadays. They earn their revenues from the sales of their products, made possible by a network of non-salaried salespeople, who in turn earn from a commission system based on their individual sales records.
Due to the structure of the business, many people readily call this a swindling business and as such, an MLM Company becomes the center of criticism. This is why it is very important to uphold your reputation in this line of work. On a quick Google search for any such MLM business, i.e. in the line of direct selling, you may be surprised to find the word “scam” mentioned in most of the search recommendations. Google shows the results on a basis of selection of data from a data set containing the most commonly used phrases in the keyword or search query.
You cannot control what people will say about you and your company online. However, you can influence what they say. Thus, a few extra negative reviews or blog posts regarding your company can seriously damage your reputation online, and by extension in the market. With more and more negative reviews being posted about your company, these will start to pop up at the top of the search strings whenever someone does a Google search on your company. This is bad, very bad. This means prospects will be dissuaded from going into a business deal with your company and I hardly need telling that it is bad for your business.
As a start-up in this line of work, you may want to avoid such damages to your reputation altogether. However, keep in mind that you cannot avoid criticism and as such take every precaution you can to minimize that. Here, in this article, I have tried to mention five steps, following which can really help you avoid unnecessary criticisms and keep your business and your reputation healthy.
Reputation Before Revenue
Keep this in mind that your reputation comes before your revenue. If you have a good enough reputation in the market, you will gain more prospects to do business with and thus, your revenue will grow accordingly. On the other hand, if your reputation is marred due to a few extra criticisms and negative reviews & blog posts, your prospects will not come to you; even your existing clientele might start to lose faith in your services. This can badly damage your revenues.
We live in a time where we all turn to Google to fill in the blanks. Whenever someone mentions your name and I mean your company name, people will undoubtedly do a Google search to know more about you. What do you think their first impression will be if they see a contemptuous review of your company? It is not at all what you want now, is it? You see, as I mentioned above the more negative reviews, the more possibility of them to show up at the top of the search string and this means a bad, very bad first impression.
This is why you need to think about your reputation and how to maintain it by reducing criticisms. You need to constantly monitor your reputation online. There is no tool to measure it. You have to keep a lookout for the criticisms and not be disheartened by them. This is where the next step comes into play and it is quite important.
Criticism Is Omnipresent
You cannot avoid criticism altogether. At some point or another, someone will criticize your work, even if you have done everything all right. There are some people, who will always speak ill of others, no matter how fair their policies are.
Therefore, you have to keep in mind that anyone can give a negative review about you online. It can be a person who dislikes this multi-level marketing strategy; it can be someone who is not totally satisfied with your services even though you have provided him/her with all the requirements put forward in your deal; it can even be a former employee of yours, whom you might have fired sometime before on the grounds of poor performances.
Sometimes criticisms can even pave the way to better management of your business operations. Sometimes, you may find a genuine and logical service issue from your client. This you need to respond to in words as well as through your work. A quick response to fix the issue can instantly save your reputation from damage. However, it happens more often than the criticisms seem to be rants of a madman.
Keep in mind that criticisms are a part of your business and so is to monitor them and find out the logical ones among them and resolve the issues mentioned in them.
Respond to Criticism With Work & Not Words
Make it a policy to respond to your critics with your work and not with words. Yes, I know your instincts will tell you otherwise. It is part of human psychology, to set the record straight, whenever their methods are disapproved. However, one needs to understand Google’s point of view.
Websites are ranked on search engines such as Google, consider a string of aspects, one of which is the website content. It must be relevant and explain the title of the content or the reason for the website. A website with regularly updated content is given even higher priority while assessing the SEO rank.
Say someone has posted a negative review of your company. Now, if you post a response to it, Google treats it as added or updated content. Thus after a few back-and-forth messages, the ranking algorithm in Google will consider this as important and as such rank higher among the search result. Now you may think that it is good to get a higher rank, but do you want someone new to read such comments or posts the first time they search your company on Google?
That is why never respond to your critics with words. They are there to ruin your reputation only and if you give in to their tricks, you are a goner. Let your work do the talking for you.
Keep a String of Websites
As I said just now, let your work do the talking. However, in cases where you are at fault, you solve by either communicating or providing a quick and plausible solution to the issue criticized upon. In most of the cases, the negative reviews are without logic. You cannot make the negative reviews to change their comments, and it is really not worth communicating with such vagabonds unless you are being deliberately and outright insulted. Other than that, it is no use to communicate directly.
The best strategy here is to push them down the ranking order by pulling the sites with positive reviews to the top. In order to do so, it is imperative that you keep a string of websites designed for different uses, at your disposal. Make a number of websites, each with its own functionality: one for new clients/distributors; another one for your existing clientele; a third one for your client meetings and conferences; another one for your galleria and a fifth one; although this is likely to get the most traffic, for showcasing your business and your services and products.
In doing so, one out of these five websites is bound to receive positive traffic in comparison to others. Google will push that particular site up the rankings, while automatically demoting sites with negative traffic. It is a good practice to include your company name in your website domain. For example, you can name your galleria IP as, www.CompanyNameGallery.com. This helps in SEO.
A High Site Ranking Goes a Long Way
Last but not least is to maintain a higher Google rank. It is not that easy; considerable work needs to be done to keep them on the first one or two pages of a Google search. Remember your goal is top rank the site with the best positive feedbacks on the top while pushing the worst affected ones to the bottom.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO becomes very important here. You can use relevant and unique content, Meta tags and backlinks to increase the popularity of your site in the eyes of Google. You need to perceive how Google will perceive your site and plan accordingly. Remember to update your content so as to keep them fresh at all times. You can consider using a blog for that matter. This is one of the most important tasks, so you should never forget to update your content.
You need to treat your online reputation management as an important element of your PR strategies. You need to keep in mind that safeguarding your online reputation is of the utmost importance and as such must start planning around it from the start. If you can successfully make up a business plan revolving this matter, it may be so that you never see a single negative review on the first one to two pages on a Google search on your company.