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There’s a lot of social media noise out there. Retailers who want to connect with consumers and fans need to cut through that noise.

That’s the digital marketing gospel according to Pete Hall, a digital marketer and storyteller with Finish Line, a sports retailer. Hall joined Room 214’s co-founder Jason Cormier to talk about social media’s presence in the retail landscape.

Have a few minutes? Check out the chat here:

Hall says retailers need to take social media risks: Don’t be afraid of failure. If you’re not experiencing any setbacks: “You’re not pushing hard enough,” Hall says.

“Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be afraid to evolve” he says.

That means exploring new platforms, putting out fresh and authentic content, and — always — testing, testing, testing to see how your brand connects with your customers.

Two ways to use social to leverage retail sales:

Organic: Using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to drive your base to your website or stores. This could be something as simple as a conversational post with a link to your site at the end. Your data analytics can illuminate interest and action.

Paid: There’s a lot you can do here. One example: Capture the email addresses of people who respond to a certain event. Maybe it’s your customers who exclusively buy things at a discount. Target those customers with sales messages.

“The right message going to the right people is going to be a success,” Hall says.

There are three pillars of social media for retailers to consider. Each retailer can explore them and decide where its resources are best-spent, Hall says:

  • Promotional: Reach your fans with your products or services, in a mobile-ready and conversational way.
  • Organic storytelling: This is your brand’s voice. Make it authentic and fun. Links can drive your base to your website, but your main mission here is to make a connection and cut through the saturated social media landscape.
  • Curated: Sharing (or re-Tweeting) stories, studies and posts from your fans in a way that builds on your engagement and social connections.


A yield sign: Resist the urge to share a promotion in an old-fashioned way, Hall says. Tailor messages to reach fans and customers in a social and conversational setting. A product shot with a price on top of it is just advertising: It’s not social, it’s not modern, and it’s not in your brand’s voice.

A stop sign: Don’t be stuck at your desk. Be mobile. Make every social message and image mobile-ready, on every device. “It’s more important than desktop, pretty much across the board,” Hall says.


Room 214 is a team of people dedicated to being remarkable. Focused on digital marketing since 2004, companies hire us to take their social and digital to the next level: from awareness and leads, to sales and advocacy. Join the conversation: on Twitter @Room_214 ,  or via email at

Jason Cormier

Jason Cormier

As co-founding Partner of Room 214, Jason is dedicated to helping people and companies grow and innovate. He is a best-selling author of Transformative Digital Marketing, is on HubSpot's Global Partner Advisory Council and serves as a mentor for social entrepreneurs at Watson University. He believes in acting out of love instead of fear, connected leadership and open book management.