Six Sigma got its start in manufacturing, but the benefits it provides extend far beyond the factory floor. Any operation stands to benefit by applying the tools and techniques provided in a proven process improvement methodology. That extends into the latest frontier in marketing – social media.

Marketers have started to see the value of Six Sigma, especially those who specialize in digital marketing. Social media can provide marketers many opportunities to put Six Sigma methods to use, making marketing efforts more efficient and driving better results.

Nate Masterson, CEO of Maple Holistics, told CMS Wire that Six Sigma allows marketers to look at a company’s brand, operations and products through the eyes of stakeholders and customers.

He added that Six Sigma “is all about compartmentalizing problems in order to better understand how they need to be approached and solved. Every system is in need of improvement; it’s just a matter of how dire the need is.”

Getting the Voice of Customer

In Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma, Voice of the Customer ranks among the most important ideas. It’s essential to building a Critical to Quality tree that helps businesses better produce the products and services that customers really want.

Obtaining the Voice of Customer requires getting feedback from both long-time, loyal customers and potential new customers. It’s typically accomplished through focus groups, customer surveys or online questionnaires.

But social media provides an immediate way to reach customers. By establishing a presence on popular social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, businesses can get a fast, inexpensive and accurate take on what customers do or do not like about specific products or the brand in general.

Testing New Products

Social media also allows companies to quickly get feedback on specific new products, another important facet of Six Sigma, as well as Agile. Again, this requires a presence on social media. Once feedback is given, adjustments can get made in design, packaging or whatever aspect of a product that needs work. This also allows companies to know when they have a popular product or service on their hands, allowing them to increase production.

Efficient Marketing Channels

In Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma, practitioners of process improvement always search for better, more efficient ways to handle all aspects of the business. That includes marketing costs. Few things offer the amount of accurate data that they can get using online marketing ideas.

If handled properly, online marketing efforts provide a straightforward, effective way to reach a target audience. Data from the social media market is typically available in real-time, allowing for fast adjustments and course corrections.

Creating Community

Other examples of Six Sigma’s use in social media are found in author and entrepreneur Jim Lupkin’s book, “Never Run Out of People to Talk to: Social Media for Your Business Success.” Lupkin suggests that Six Sigma processes can create more consistency in how companies approach social media marketing.

For example, he suggests making 90 days the amount of time to wait before reaching out to a contact you’ve made. If 90 days pass, then it’s time to reestablish the relationship. He also suggests providing 24-hour customer service on social media, such as a Facebook page, that can build trust between the company and customers.

Social media already has become a “must-have” for companies that want success in the future as more shopping moves online. Six Sigma provides methods for making this transition work better, no matter the industry or the specific business.