Marketing cannabis on social media can be very challenging. Social media platforms have guidelines that can be restrictive. It then becomes necessary for those in the cannabis industry to become creative with their social media presence.
Not only does the cannabis industry faces restrictions on social media, but there are also critics with the industry itself. Marketing cannabis products again can be a challenge for a business professional, but here are 5 tips that could help.
Create Engaging and Educational Content
There is opposition content that exists that shares false information about cannabis. There are also people who may be uneducated on the subject. For this reason, it is essential to educate the public and potential customers, about the industry. There are many facts and uses of cannabis that consumers may not be aware of.
Posting educational content can not only spread knowledge on the topic of cannabis but also bring benefits to your brand. Think about the number of people who search for facts about cannabis every day. In any one of those searches, your company’s content can appear.
Keep in mind, that A/B testing should be done with what types of content works on which social media platform. Facebook may be the better platform to post articles or blog posts whereas Instagram would be the better platform for educational images. Either way, for both and all other social media platforms, it is important to understand the guidelines each platform has on posting about cannabis.
Understand Guidelines and Post Responsibly
It is important to understand that there do’s and don’ts on social media sites about what they allow to be posted on their platforms. Having the necessary knowledge to understand what your business can post about will lower the chances of your business profile being shut down.
Consistently being shut down will not help your business appear professional. Creativity is your friend here, not only with the image but with language as well. For example, posted images cannot depict the sale or instructions of how to use. Be sure to stay up to date on the guidelines of all social media platforms your business posts to.
Facebook and Instagram have the same guidelines since Facebook bought Instagram in 2012. Their policy states:
“Our policy prohibits any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers, street addresses, or by using the “contact us” tab in Instagram Business Accounts. We do however allow marijuana advocacy content as long as it is not promoting the sale of the drug. Dispensaries can promote the use and federal legalization of marijuana provided that they do not also promote its sale or provide contact information to their store.”
One thing that is worth pointing out is the fact that nothing is mentioned about a website. This point can be beneficial in efforts to avoid getting your page shut down.
Drive traffic to your website. Again, as stated in Facebook’s and Instagram’s policy, you can NOT include your business’s address or phone number, but you can include your website address. Just be certain to include an address and phone number visibly for when potential customers click on your link.
Explore Other Advertising Methods
With the many restrictions that exist among the various social media platforms, it is important to consider other outlets to promote your business. Even if social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram weren’t as restrictive, in order to spread brand awareness it is vital to always consider various methods.
Other methods include educational events and speaker panels; methods that would assist in spreading knowledge to the community. Podcasts and radio shows could also be very viable options when trying to promote your products.
Become an Expert
Being a leading authority on cannabis in your community will not only help your brand grow but could also give the media a go-to on all things cannabis giving your brand recognition as a leader. Be sure that you are making contacts with media and include some of your local legislators so that you increase your chances of being considered a professional expert on cannabis.
When your name, and your dispensary’s name, shows up as a continuous expert, that in itself will drive traffic to your store and the products you offer. People will trust your knowledge and opinion on products over your competitors.
Own Your Mistakes
No company is immune from making a mistake. How a brand responds to their mistakes is what is most important. It is unprofessional to play the “blame game”. Own up to your mistakes and learn from them.
Depending on the mistake that was made, let your followers and/or customers about how your business plans to amend the situation. Consult with outside professionals who may have experienced similar situations. Learn what you can to avoid similar problems in the future.
It’s easy to talk about these tips, but how about we look at some examples.
Above is the Instagram profile for Midwest Dispensary. One positive is that they are following the platforms guidelines by not providing their contact information. On the other hand, they are not even providing a link to their website. Again, keep in mind that although platforms like Instagram and Facebook do not allow providing contact information, you can still include your website. Include something that will help lead potential clients to your business.
Above is an excellent example of what an Instagram profile for a dispensary should look like. In the bio for the Ponca City Dispensary, there is no contact information of the business nor a call to action button. Instead, there is a brief description and a link to their site. They have also included “Nothing for sale” which is perfect since the sale of cannabis is also prohibited and mentioned in the Instagram guidelines.
There is also a good example of one of the company’s posts. It displays cannabis but does not indicate instructions on how to use or display people using it, making it an ideal post. One factor that could help to improve the company’s feed would be including posts that educate. Spreading knowledge is very important for this industry.
Lastly, the examples of The Peak Dispensary is good except for the fact that their address is displayed in their bio. They also have no link to their site, despite the fact that they are a medical-only dispensary, they should still include a link to their site for those who do have a medical ID.
The post example is good because it is encouraged to post pictures of the plant, specifically plants that the business is growing. Again, similar to Ponca City Dispensary, more educational posts would increase the appearance of the page.
These tips are just the tip of the iceberg! Conduct research and communicate with your local community and outside professionals as they will be able to provide some insight. You can never have too much knowledge when it comes to cannabis marketing.