The Six Sigma management system is known worldwide for revolutionizing how companies execute day-to-day business. Over the past thirty years, Six Sigma's co-creator and innovator, Dr. Mikel J. Harry, reshaped organizational development and profitability for corporate heavyweights such as American Express, Ford, GE, Dupont, and Amazon. And then, social media became a major player in the world of business. In response, Dr. Harry found an ally to help him apply the robust Six Sigma process to social media.
Like Dr. Harry, author, and entrepreneur, Jim Lupkin believes in the power of systems. As such, he has created an organized method to help businesses succeed in social media, which has been endorsed by the Six Sigma organization. When the fourth generation of Six Sigma is released to the world in 2020, for the first time, companies and individuals will be using the system in social media.
"Social media has never been a part of Six Sigma," says Sandra Harry, Chairman, and CEO of Dr. Mikel J. Harry Six Sigma Management Institute. "When Mikel created Six Sigma, he took existing tools, and he saw how to use them in a better way. Jim did the same thing with social media."
In his most recent bestselling book, Never Run Out of People to Talk to: Social Media for Your Business Success, Lupkin teaches readers to gain predictable relationship-building results in social media. While he emphasizes Facebook, since he believes it is the most effective social network, his system is adaptable to other platforms, like LinkedIn and Instagram.
Lupkin leans on four pillars, his "4-Cs": community, conversation, connection, and communication. Here, he shares his best strategies to kickstart your business's social media.
Create a 24-hour support network to inspire people to do business with you. Social proof inside a Facebook Group achieves this. The trusted community you build will help you address customer needs in real-time, eliminate service delays, provide a framework that is ready when a new friend is open to doing business, and create a culture that can withstand competition.
Tip: When adding friends to your community, introduce them to the group. Introductions make people feel welcome and signal the rest of your community to connect and be of service.
Facebook Messenger allows you to have genuine interactions that create a thriving community. Using one-on-one and group chat features, start a conversation. Your objective is a real and meaningful conversation.
For new friends, reach out within 24-48 hours. Try, Hey (new friend)! Thanks for accepting my friend request and responding to my message. I'm excited to build a friendship with you. Continue the conversation based on your new friend's message.
For established friends, Lupkin uses the "90-Day Test." Check the date stamp of your last conversation with your friend. If it's been more than 90 days since you've connected, reestablish the relationship. Catch up on life. No business-talk. Try, Hey (friend)! It's been a while since we chatted. How have you been? Nurture that conversation. If it's been less than 90 days since you've chatted with your friend on social media, you probably have a relationship, and it's okay to bring up business: Try, Hey (friend)! I just wanted to reach out to let you know (something about your business).
Although social media seems tailor-made for extroverts, introverts can also thrive. Taking time to craft messages and responses lessens social anxiety.
You only know so many people. If your prospects list is inherently limited, never running out of people to talk to will become the engine that drives your business forward. Luckily, Facebook's Discover features, along with your personal history, delivers endless possibilities.
Tip: In Facebook's Discover feature, try these searches: places you've traveled, people you haven't spoken with in years, people who share your same hobbies and passions, people who attended the same school or university, people who live in the same current city or hometown, people who have worked in the same industry or job.
Brainstorming how you have connected with others in real life and applying those strategies to a powerful search engine like Facebook will help you never run out of people to talk to.
Not everyone will do business with you today. Stay in touch with people who want to do business with you in the future using Facebook's Newsfeed and Stories feature.
Follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of your posts should be about your personal life (what you're comfortable sharing); 20% should be about business. If people like you and trust you, you'll get their business. Sharing 80% of yourself facilitates that like and trust.
Tip: Timing and frequency is the key to the 80/20 rule. Post once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. If a post's comments heat up, make that the day's only post. Obey the 4-hours-between-posts rule. Post more often, and you risk dominating someone's feed.
Relationships remain at the core of Lupkin's system: friends first, prospects second. Use social media to help and lift people, and your business will prosper.
Correction: A previous version of this column misspelled the name of the Dr. Mikel J. Harry Six Sigma Management Institute.