You don't need to listen to 56 billion social conversations to build your business. You just need to hear the ones that matter.

That was the landscape  Liz High, vice president for global insights and analytics at SDL, explored at her company's Innovate event in San Francisco. More specifically, the workshop was titled: "Social Intelligence: Drive Customer Acquisition While Increasing Customer Spend." 

"When you think of social media, it's the most brilliant data set in the world," said High. "The whole way we think of social media is getting to the data that matters."

Sorting It Out

That may be easier said than done, particularly in international markets. The buying trigger words in Brazil are different from those in the US or Asia. However, while there's no perfect solution yet, new technologies are steadily increasing the ability of marketers to separate the diamonds from the dust.

High said the key is identifying who is speaking on social, a process that starts with email addresses. Her approach is to match those with social handles. SDL's systems get a 10 percent to 40 percent success rate in doing that within the US, according to High, but the average is lower elsewhere.

In a case study involving an anonymous retailer, High laid out a seven-step process that increased acquisition of  customers. Again, step one was to match email with social identities. The next step is to create a database of everything said about the company.  The third step involves "topic modeling" by analyzing text.

Segmentation comes fourth, followed by enhancing the data set with information from other sources. Now it's time to execute the campaign. The seventh step is to measure the performance.

Clean Data, Teamwork, Relevance

The most important part of the customer acquisition journey is reliable data, High said. "It's  very important that you have a detailed understanding of your customer's preferences."

Orchestration or all company workers is also critical, she added. "If you want ot be an effective customer experience management company, you've got to come together."

And then there is context. High said that involves making sure you have "the relative experience" that is correct for the individual you're contacting.