Trying to promote your cannabis business or dispensary through traditional channels can be an exercise in frustration. There are federal laws against advertising on TV and Radio, and advertising opportunities, in general, are extremely limited. Laws also vary across states, making things even more difficult. However, successfully promoting your cannabis business through social media can be done. Many cannabis business owners are turning to social media as a channel for getting the word out about their business.
There are a few social media best practices to follow that will give your cannabis business the best chance at leveraging these popular platforms. If we had to summarize social media best practices for cannabis business owners in six phrases, they would be:
- Create Value
- Be Creative
- Be Consistent
- Use Hashtags
- Appreciate your followers and encourage engagement
Know Your Audience
A message to everyone is a message to no one. Be sure you know your audience and speak directly to them. This will help with building your online following and brand.
You likely already have an offline following of customers who frequently visit your dispensary. Do you know who they are and what they are interested in? If you haven’t already started gathering that type of information, now is the time to start. Here are some of the things you can learn about your audience that will help you find them on social media.
- Do they attend industry events?
- Where do they find out about industry information?
- What are their concerns around cannabis use?
- What level of knowledge do they have about cannabis?
The Main Social Media Channels
While it’s optimal to post on all the channels that are relevant to your audience, it’s important to note that it’s not necessary to post on every channel. Start with one and slowly build out your channel distribution. You’ll eventually find that you get better engagement on certain channels vs. others. Though there are many other social media channels (which we encourage you to look into), here’s a quick rundown of the content for those considered to be the major three social media channels.
Facebook contains a mixture of long and short form posts on Facebook, though shorter posts typically perform better. Be sure your profile is fully built out, complete with images of your dispensary, hours of operation, website information and more.
Here are some additional things to consider:
- Include 1 to 2 hashtags per post.
- Reviews – Facebook enables customers to post reviews, so companies should monitor this feedback and use it to make changes to keep their customers happy.
- Linked Content – Because you can include hyperlinks in Facebook, it’s good to post content such as blog posts and event pages.
- You can refer to the Facebook guidelines.
Instagram is a visually-based social media platform. Some would argue that it is the most prevalent platform of our time and should be given the most attention. It is a great place to showcase your brand’s visual identity, dispensary culture, dispensary look and feel.
Get creative with your posts and align them with the interests of your audience – try providing some tips! Instead of creating a post about ‘How cannabis helps you sleep,’ try posting ‘5 tips to sleep better tonight,” to reach a new audience.
Some other creative posts include a ‘budtender showcase’ (where you can share fun facts about the budtender of the month), local city sites that your clients love, or events that your company has a presence at. Here are some additional things to consider for your posts:
- 10+ hashtags are appropriate per post.
- Linked Content – Do not include linked content, as Instagram posts do not support hyperlinks.
- Post frequency – Post less frequently than other platforms, but make sure when you do post, high quality.
- For more Instagram ideas and guidelines, you can refer to this article from our partner, Sherpa, who specializes in digital media for the cannabis industry.
Twitter is an online news and social networking service where users post and interact through messages. The content mostly consists of short, real-time messages. Here are some things to consider when creating Twitter posts:
- Include 1 to 2 hashtags per post.
- Demographics – 72% of active Twitter users are between 18-49 years old, with a slight majority of female users, at 55% female.
- Linked Content – Because you can include hyperlinks in Twitter, it’s good to post content such as blog posts and event pages.
- Post Frequency – You should post to Twitter more than any other platform. It’s appropriate to post multiple times a day.
- Engagement – Appreciate your followers by retweeting and liking their posts. This will incentivize your customers to react to your posts in return.
You may have noticed that we included the number of suggested hashtags for each platform. This is because hashtags are such a great way for new audiences to find you on social media.
It is important to note that the use of hashtags varies somewhat across platforms. Therefore, we always recommend searching for the hashtag you intend to use for each platform, to ensure the content aligns with what you’re going for.
Here are some examples of hashtags you might use: #cannabiscommunity, #your_dispensary, #cannabisculture, #medicalcannabis, #cannabispatient, #marketingmonday, #motivationmonday, #transformationtuesday, #wellnesswednesday, #thoughtfulthursday, and #featurefriday.
Provide Value Through Education
Part of listening to your audience means posting content they care about. One area that is sure to be a hit is educational content about cannabis. This content provides value by teaching your followers something they didn’t know about a topic they deeply care about. For cannabis specifically, posting helpful and informative content about the plant and product is key – especially for a new cannabis customer.
In the beginning, you might need to post content on a few different topics and see what your followers respond to. After a while, you should start getting feedback and can then better hone your topics to your audience’s liking. Some ideas for content are: How to use cannabis for fitness and muscle recovery, the difference between CBD and THC, how people use micro-dosing, and how cannabis helps many people sleep.
Something to note is that not everyone is going to look for something ‘cannabis-specific,’ so it is smart to also post things like, “5 tips to sleep better tonight.” Then cannabis can be one of those things, and link it to your online menu.
Remember that educational content isn’t about sending out sales promotions, which can lead to getting red flagged or removed. For sales promotions, sending a text message is a better way to go. Learn more about how you can do that with Baker’s SMS Connect tool.
Inform Through Industry News
Most cannabis users are interested in the changing laws and how they will be affected. Knowing about current events within the industry is already something you should be on top of.
Share this information with your followers as it pertains to them. Meaning, if none of your followers are from South Dakota, don’t keep posting about the intricacies of South Dakota cannabis laws.
In addition, provide information, resources and updates that pertain to medical patients. This could include the latest requirements for becoming a medical marijuana patient in your state.
You’ll set good expectations and build your brand by consistently posting on similar topics and using similar formats for each post. Certain colors and images in your posts will create a style specific to you. This style will also be part of your brand.
Try to stick with your overall theme and ‘mood.’ It will re-enforce who you are and attract the right followers. Is it witty, professional or inspirational? Keep the ‘mood’ and theme consistent across your profile picture, posts, and copy style.
You also need to apply consistency to the frequency of your posts. Determine how many posts per week you can commit to posting, and stick to it. It’s very important to maintain this frequency and to not stop posting just because you get busy. This also applies to certain post types. For example, if you decide to do a “budtender spotlight” where they share a tip, their favorite product, or their hobbies, don’t stop after two posts. Do them weekly or monthly, and stick to that frequency.
There was a time on social media when organic content was king. If your page had 1,000 followers, those 1,000 people would see your posts. Life was so simple then.
Those days are over. By now it will likely come as no surprise to learn that algorithms on social media platforms are limiting the reach of organic posts, forcing brands to advertise to really reap the benefits social media has to offer.
That’s all fine for most of the social media clients who walk in our doors. Those willing to embrace the new status quo of social media advertising can really set their brand apart and get a leg up on the competition. I’ve witnessed even modest advertising budgets work wonders on social media for clients in a variety of industries — from those looking to boost ecommerce sales to companies in need of new business leads.
The problem is, many social media platforms prohibit advertising for cannabis companies. Even ancillary businesses are being restricted. With strict federal regulations in both Canada and the US restricting the promotion of cannabis nationally, social media advertising guidelines likely aren’t going to change anytime soon, despite legalization. So, what’s a cannabis brand to do?
Cannabis and Social Media: Platform by Platform Comparison
The nutshell version is as follows: the main social media platforms don’t allow advertising for cannabis companies.
Here are the rules in more detail:
Facebook’s advertising policies differentiate between restricted content and prohibited content. Unfortunately for cannabis companies, promoting drugs and drug-related products, including prescription and recreational drugs, is strictly prohibited. This includes both the text and images you include in your ads. Due to federal restrictions cannabis companies are prohibited from running ads even in states where cannabis is legal. Failing to comply with Facebook’s advertising guidelines could, at best, get your ads shut down or, at the worst, your account deleted. Say goodbye to the audience you worked so hard to build!
Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012, and the same advertising policies govern the use of that platform. Simply put, there’s no advertising permitted for cannabis companies on Instagram.
Twitter likewise prohibits ads for illegal goods in its ads policies. Specifically, the Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia section lists “illegal drugs, recreational and herbal drugs, accessories associated with drug use, drug dispensaries, and depictions of hard drug use” as examples of prohibited ad content.
LinkedIn’s ad policies state that “even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction, LinkedIn does not allow ads related to prescription pharmaceuticals, drugs or any related products or services. Ads that promote illegal drugs, highs, herbal medicines and treatments, psychoactive effects of substances, or aids to pass drug tests are all prohibited.”
SnapChat’s ad guidelines prohibit ads that “encourage or glamorize drug use,” as well as ads for illegal or recreational drugs or drug paraphernalia.
Not surprisingly, Pinterest’s advertising guidelines do not allow “imagery, sale or use of illegal or recreational drugs.” What’s more, “informational material about the use or legalization of illegal or recreational drugs” and “related paraphernalia for using, storing or consuming illegal or recreational drugs.” Of interest, there has been speculation that Pinterest will allow advertising for products that don’t contain THC (including CBD-only and hemp products). However, this is not stated officially in their ad guidelines, so testing this out risk getting your account deleted.
Outside the social media realm, digital advertising alternatives such as Google (which also owns YouTube) also prohibit cannabis ads in a similar fashion to their social media counterparts.
In some cases, we’ve heard of cannabis companies getting away with running ads that avoid certain words or images to fly under the algorithmic radar (with the most luck on Twitter).
Although you might be able to get away with this, it’s always been our opinion that it’s not worth the risk. It’s hard work to amass a strong social following. To lose it all over one errant ad campaign would be a devastating mistake.
Promoting Cannabis Brands Organically on Social Media
To reach and engage their audiences on social media without advertising, cannabis brands have to do it the hard way — through kickass organic content. Although social media companies have limited the organic reach of posts, it’s not impossible to achieve large-scale reach. You just have to be smart about your social media strategy to maximize reach organically. Here are some strategies we use for our cannabis clients on social media:
Partnering with industry influencers is a good way to reach new audiences inclined to like your brand. When you post content to your own social media pages, people who already follow your pages will see it. Unless you use hashtags or your followers share it, it won’t reach new audiences.
Influencer marketing is a viable strategy to thrive on social media despite strict advertising guidelines. They can expand your reach organically to their audiences without the use of advertising.
Most social media algorithms grant further reach to content that yields higher engagement rates. Therefore, to increase the organic reach of the content you post to social media, you should aim to post the most engaging forms of content. From our experience, video content is among the most engaging type of content you can post to social media. Be sure to include subtitles though because many people consume video content with the sound off.
Think of how much you could increase your reach on social media if happy customers were also posting about your brand. Increasingly, our physical world is being shaped in a way to promote sharing “instagrammable content” which might just be the new Kodak moment. Beyond creating a great product or experience your customers want, consider including hashtags on instore displays or creating unique spaces that your customers can’t wait to share online.
As logic would have it, the more platforms you’re on, the more likely you are to be seen. Be strategic in selecting your platforms, however, to ensure they align well with the brand.
Also consider the demographic and psychographic profiles of your target audience to help guide the platforms you choose. Do some testing to figure out which platform(s) yields the highest engagement and results for your brand, then focus your energy there.
Although social media advertising is off limits to many cannabis companies at the moment, there are plenty of earned/organic strategies these companies can employ to get ahead of the competition despite regulatory roadblocks. Despite legalization in a variety of markets, the restrictions persist. Fortunately, a little creativity goes a long way on social media, and there’s no shortage of that in the cannabis industry.
Can Dispensaries Advertise on Facebook and Other Cannabis Social Media Tips
Yes, You Can Post Cannabis on Facebook! But you cannot advertise cannabis related products on Facebook or Instagram, or anywhere on social media without being flagged. BUT don’t give up hope, because those posts and the creative content you publish is still extremely valuable!
There are many other ways to manage your dispensary’s social media presence without paid advertising and we’ll review a few key social media tips for dispensaries in the next section below.
Why Social Media Marketing For Dispensaries is Important
One of the most effective marketing tactics for any local business is to use social media to interact directly with consumers.
You can build awareness of your cannabis retail store, convert your followers into customers, and connect with new potential customers with a strategic social media plan.
How Important is Social Media to Local Businesses?
Let’s put it this way. A recent study on social media marketing revealed that an overwhelming majority of 90% of marketers say social media is important to their business.
82% of participants in this survey worked in businesses with less than 100 employees.
To be successful with organic/non-paid social media marketing for cannabis stores is that you have to be consistent, relevant, and engaging. You can’t always be about your brand or your product.
3 Tips To Market Your Dispensary On Social Media Without Advertising
The old school sales rule of “ABC: Always Be Closing”, made famous in the film Glengarry Glen Ross doesn’t apply when it comes to social media marketing for dispensaries.
While you can try to advertise your dispensary on Facebook and be successful, you’ll also need to add a media budget into your marketing budget for Facebook & Instagram advertising.
Using social media organically allows you to get past the strict cannabis social media regulations on advertising and save your Facebook media spend.
If you don’t have an effective social media management plan for your cannabis retail store, keep reading.
Here are 3 tips on how to market your dispensary on Facebook and grow your following on Instagram without advertising.
1. Think of Instagram Hashtags Like Keywords For SEO
Any experienced cannabis social media marketer knows that if you include the right hashtags in your post you’re most likely going to see much more reach, impressions, and engagement than if you used generic hashtags.
The whole point of using hashtags on Instagram posts is to get your content seen by the right people at the right time and on the right platform.
If you’re going to use hashtags in your cannabis social media marketing strategy, please use them strategically not randomly.
Here are a few strategic tips on how to optimize your hashtags when marketing your dispensary on Instagram:
Hashtag Tip 1. Use the right number of hashtags:
Instagram allows for a total of 30 hashtags.I’d suggest using all 30.
Keep them relevant and ensure you change them up for each post.
Never ever repeat the same hashtags and or cut and paste in hashtags from previous posts.
Hashtag Tip 2. Hide your hashtags:
The idea here is to optimize your content/caption. Don’t clutter up your post caption by having what killer social media copy mixed in with promotional hashtags.
Instead, post your content and then immediately return to the live post in your feed and leave a comment with 30 popular hashtags.
If you insist on having your hashtags in your caption and not in the comments, you can bury your hashtags in the caption and still keep it clean.
Hashtag Tip 3. Don’t use irrelevant hashtags:
Sourcing popular hashtags that are irrelevant to your business and products is totally spammy behavior.
I guarantee this approach will annoy people who follow those hashtags.
These people will likely tell Instagram to “Don’t Show for this Hashtag”, leaving your post with negative feedback on relevancy.
As we mentioned above, it’s best for cannabis stores to use hashtags strategically. If you give your target audience high-quality content that speaks to their interests and answers their questions, you will see an increase in your social media engagement and following.
2. Post Branded & Relevant Content to Increase Traffic and Boost SEO
Yea, it’s true. You can help the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website by using social media strategically.
Popular search engine’s like Google and Bing have super-algorithms that help them identify which web pages are consistently earning traffic, from which sources. These same algorithms also let them know which web pages are just “out there”, potentially forgotten and often ignored.
Cannabis business owners should understand that an optimized content strategy is one of the most important factors in your cannabis SEO strategy but, driving qualified traffic to your website’s optimized pages will positively affect your search engine rankings.
Simple things like re-sharing/re-purposing content that has performed well previously on social media is a good tactic to drive potential new cannabis customers to your website. We typically suggest repurposing each post once a month or creating new content pieces.
For example, if you published a blog article on the differences between Indica, Sativa, and hybrid strains that received some decent engagement on social media and also generated many clicks to your website, you could repurpose that blog content into a video.
You’d then be able to take proven content to other mediums in the form of a video. You likely didn’t share your blog article in Instagram but now with a video or a series of videos, you could share that website blog content on Instagram where users can consume the content without having to leave the platform.
3. Use Facebook Messenger Chatbots to Help With Customer Service & Drive Retail Traffic
Do you still care whether or not you can advertise dispensaries on Facebook? I’m hoping you can see that there are a few options to promote cannabis products other than social media advertising.
I’m sure you’ve realized this already, either with your cannabis-related business or maybe even in your personal life. Social media is key to customer service today.
Customers expect a quick response time, period. These days, that response is usually expected quickly on social media platforms than anywhere else.
If there’s a problem with your weed or if someone can’t figure out how to use your vape pen, or maybe someone doesn’t know how much of an edible to eat, your customers expect you to provide answers asap.
If your cannabis retail store can handle customer service via Facebook Messenger chatbots or some other form of automation, you can establish a huge competitive edge in your local business area.
You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be super responsive and have the answers to their questions ready. This is why we recommend using a Facebook Messenger chatbot for your dispensary.
For example, a study from Sprout Social identified that customers want responses from brands on social media within four hours, yet the average response time is 10 hours.
We all know that customer service can be a major drag with some local businesses, but think of it this way. This isn’t just a huge pain in the ass for customers, it also directly affects your profits.
Here’s some evidence of this. A Twitter study showed that customers are willing to pay almost $20 more for future tickets when airlines respond to their tweets within 6 minutes.
I think that it’s a well-known fact that companies that respond well, in a timely fashion, to customer inquiries, feedback, or complaints, will be rewarded with good PR potentially resulting in increased sales.
9 Tips For Cannabis Marketing on Social Media
So how are things going with executing your cannabis marketing on social media platforms? I’m betting it’s like any other cannabis business strategy in it requires a ton of skill, creativity, and patience.
Even though some form of cannabis is legal in all of Canada, in 33 of the United States in parts of Europe, Africa, and other countries, your marijuana or CBD business still faces strict restrictions with social media platforms, whether you try to advertise or not.
So things are tough out there for a cannabis marketer when it comes to how to successfully market cannabis products on social media while remaining compliant.
We’re all well aware of the confusing advertising restrictions but what about the restrictions that social media platforms may have against organic, non-promoted posts in your Facebook and Instagram feeds?
This is where social media marketing for dispensaries and other cannabis companies gets murky and we’re here to clear things up for you.
Is it possible to advertise cannabis on social media? How do you market cannabis on Facebook or Instagram, and what about cannabis advertising on YouTube?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more, as well as provide actionable insights with 5 effective tips for cannabis marketing on social media platforms.
1. Authenticity Matters With Cannabis Marketing on Social Media
Publishing content that educates your current and potential customers about your products (or services) is probably the best tip for cannabis marketing on social media, especially on Facebook.
If you’re looking to increase your cannabis brand awareness and develop trust with targeted cannabis consumers, you’ll need to educate the uneducated in order to have sustained growth for your business.
There are plenty of potential cannabis customers who don’t even know they can use CBD to treat their anxiety or to manage their pain.
There’s also plenty of other people who are actively searching Google, right now, for information on the benefits of CBD products.
Imagine if you can get information on your CBD products to the people who are already curious about CBD and its benefits to their health and wellness.
Publishing educational content daily on Facebook is one of the most effective ways of advertising cannabis on social media, without actual advertising.
Reason being, people on Facebook engage with content much differently than people engage with content on Instagram. Just think about how you consume content on each platform.
Not too many people are clicking off of Instagram to go to a cannabis brand or dispensary website to read an article about how CBD can help them with their pre and post work out regimens.
But, those same people could be on Facebook and scrolling through their feed when they come across a post from your company’s Facebook business page, discussing the benefits of your CBD oil as it relates to pain management.
Facebook is a platform where people engage with content and click off to read articles more so than Instagram. So if you post relevant, educational content about CBD and your followers are curious about CBD, you could have found an effective tactic for your cannabis marketing on social media.
If you try this cannabis social media marketing tactic you can measure the success of your campaigns by tracking the engagement rate on these posts, as well as the time spent on the landing page or blog article you linked it.
2. Choose To Work With Marketing Agency With Experience in Marketing Cannabis
When brainstorming creative cannabis social media ideas specific to Instagram, we recommend implementing a specific strategy for Stories in your cannabis marketing plan for social media.
Over 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories daily and more than 300 million use Facebook and Messenger Stories daily.
Instagram Stories allow cannabis companies and dispensaries to offer mobile-driven storytelling to their social media marketing mix. This makes this format a crucial channel for cannabis companies to deliver their messages in new and innovative ways.
More importantly, your current and potential customers love IG Stories. They’re fun, vertical, immersive and totally modern. It’s how your customers are communicating with their friends and documenting their journeys.
In terms of using Stories as an effective tool for social media marketing, dispensaries should use this format for quick-hits to provide visual excitement to engage and enchant your followers.
Tips to Market Cannabis Using Instagram Stories
- Create customized 9×16 videos specifically for Stories. Vertical videos rule in the format.
- Don’ simply chop up your traditional landscape video into segments for IG Stories.
- Vertical video works best if you focus in on one single object in the frame.
- Remember to think up-and-down and not thing side-to-side. The viewers eyes are interested in what is coming down from the top of the screen or up from the bottom.
- People are used to consuming Stories quickly. So, quick cuts and fact moving creative fit this format super well.
Creating and publishing Instagram Stories for cannabis marketing isn’t easy. It takes time and creativity to get it done right.
We’re advocates for trying and testing, especially with creative for cannabis marketing in social media. We recommend experimentation and the mixing and matching of different creative elements.
It’s important to find ways to bring some interactivity to your IG Stories. Don’t be shy to use the native elements like stickers that your viewers might be using and incorporate them into your efforts.
If you’re looking to use influencers to market your cannabis products on social media, see this article for a few additional tips: 3 Tips To Finding CBD Influencers On Instagram That Fit Your Brand.
3. Showcase Your Cannabis Team on Key Social Media Profiles
While you may not be able to advertise your cannabis products on social media, yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t advertise and/or promote your cannabis team.
Your cannabis team includes your front end staff like budtenders, security, and marijuana store managers, as well as people in your back office including marketing, sales, operations, human resources, and any other department you may have.
Create content that allows your followers to get to your brand by getting to know your team. Social media is meant to be social so use this as an opportunity to educate and entertain.
This strategy allows your cannabis brand to establish personal connections with your social media followers and future customers. It helps build your brand’s authenticity may increase trust in your brand by your followers.
I’d suggest implementing this content on both Facebook & Instagram. If you’re able to create short video instead of static images, you will likely get much more engagement. Video content is key for any type of cannabis marketing on social media.
4. Use Strategic Stories To Market Cannabis on Instagram
Many local businesses choose a digital marketing agency to help grow their business via Instagram ads and organic social media management. A large part of their strategy revolves around Facebook & Instagram advertising.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of credible digital marketing agencies that would love to manage the social media marketing for your cannabis brand, but do they have any experience with the challenges involved in cannabis marketing on social media?
Social media for cannabis companies is in some ways similar to marketing other B2B and B2C businesses, but only someone who’s actually had experience with cannabis marketing on social media can truly understand the challenges.
Think of yourself or someone on your cannabis marketing team. You may have had your Facebook or Instagram account flagged or shadowbanned for posting cannabis and CBD related content.
If you’ve ever tried advertising cannabis on social media I’m sure you’ve faced countless ads being disapproved, or even worse, having your ad account flat out banned on Facebook and Instagram.
Most social media marketing agencies are a little spoiled when it comes to advertising on Facebook and Instagram. They don’t have to deal with strict advertising restrictions on a daily basis.
Therefore, non-cannabis social media marketing agencies may not have the experience in creative copywriting or possess the tenacity of testing, trying, and testing and trying different ad variations in order to get an ad approved, while making sure your page, profile, and ad account do not get flagged or banned!
Our cannabis social media marketing team has been able to advertise medical cannabis on Facebook, Google, and YouTube using creative copywriting and a tenacious attitude.
However, we’ve also been challenged by these same platforms and have attempted to run ad campaigns only to have our ads disapproved. So nothing is guaranteed in life or with advertising cannabis on social media.
Cannabis advertising and daily Instagram marketing is a super tricky thing to manage successfully, this is why experience matters when it comes to cannabis marketing on social media.
5. Use Educational Content To Market Cannabis on Facebook
This boils down to marketing 101. Authenticity has always mattered in marketing and especially with cannabis marketing on social media.
We all live in an extremely fast-paced world, with trends evolving at manic speed, and being inundated with billions of messages delivered across multiple points of contact.
This is precisely why the struggle to define and maintain authenticity remains constant in marketing.
A steep decline in organic social media reach over the past few years combined with an inability to buy advertising on social media platforms has placed added pressure on cannabis marketers to keep their messaging on point, not just to remain genuine but also to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Cannabis brands should look at social media marketing as part of their overall brand marketing strategy. Your brand needs to resonate with its audience in order to be successful and grow.
So if you strategically use social media marketing to enhance your cannabis brand, your audience (i.e potential new customers) can discover alignment with your brand via your social media content.
Once your audience has chosen to align with your brand they will choose to love what you stand for, become loyal fans, and help you by spreading the love for your brand across their social media profiles.
A good tip for creating content that resonates with your audience is to use video content a much as possible to market your cannabis brand on social media. A static image is nowhere near as engaging as an entertaining, educational short video.
Video content helps your cannabis brand build originality and authenticity in your social media marketing. People can really get to know and trust your brand if they like what you’re doing and you’re educating them at the same time.
Building authenticity and trust on social media is a super great way to market your brand and grow your business.
6. Use brand ambassadors
Another social media strategy that N6A provides its cannabis clients is appointing a brand ambassador, Pickel says. A brand can turn its customers into brand ambassadors on social media who can spread content about the company on their pages and reach more people.
“Think of how you can make your storefront, for example, more Instagram-able, or really encourage your customers to share content and say great things about you to their own network,” Pickel says.
7. Build a presence on multiple platforms
Cannabis brands should be active across several social media platforms, Pickel says.
“If your page does get shut down—maybe due to some mismanagement—if you’ve built up a following across other platforms, as well, then in those cases, you’re really not starting from ground zero again,” she says. “You’ve already got a following on other platforms, as well.”
Facebook and Instagram are Pickel’s top picks for platforms to engage with. “Facebook and Instagram have the same ownership and they’re the preeminent social media company, and they really do provide great ROI generally for consumer-facing companies, compared to other counterparts like LinkedIn or Twitter.”
And cannabis businesses should approach Twitter with caution, she adds. “Twitter has taken less of a hard stance on cannabis advertising,” Pickel says. “Some brands have gotten away with spending hundreds of thousands on advertisements on Twitter, … but it’s not generally a strategy that we would recommend just because there is a lack of clarity there. Running the risk of having your page shut down, in our opinion, isn’t worth it when there are so many different effective strategies you can employ just purely on the organic side to promote your company on social media.”
8. Invest in video
Although advertising remains the best way to promote brands on social media when possible, some of N6A’s clients have been very successful with videos on platforms like Snapchat, Pickel says.
“The video content will only go so far, but in general, video content does perform better than static images, for example, so any time you can promote video content, it’s always a good investment,” she says.
8. Post educational content
“For cannabis, I would say education is always No. 1, and that’s an approach that we take within our social media division and within our PR division here at N6A because there is still a lot of misinformation out there,” Pickel says. “Any sort of investment cannabis companies can make into that kind of content is always beneficial.”
Especially with all the advertising regulations around promoting cannabis brands, a company can never go wrong with an educational focus, she adds. “Within the cannabis industry, there are so many different types of cannabis companies, from software companies that we’ve worked with, analytics companies, finance, direct-to-consumer—the best type of campaign would really depend on what type of business you have in the cannabis space, but I would say across the board, any kind of educational content always does really well.”
9. Post high-quality content that provides value to your audience
“If you’re limited to sharing organic content, you want to make sure that your organic content is really, really high-quality,” Pickel says.
N6A advises its clients that someone will follow a page on social media if it provides value, but not if the brand is overly promotional.
“If you think of the social media pages you follow, you never want to follow a page that’s just purely advertising, trying to promote themselves all the time,” Pickel says. “You would want to follow a page that provides value, whether that was entertainment value in the form of industry pot humor, or educational.”
Heavily promoting your deals and promos is not the most effective way to utilize social media. First, you risk getting red flagged or removed by social media platforms. Second, followers are looking for value rather than constantly being pitched to. Also try to stay away from heavily posting images of the plant, as it will not appeal to all audiences, and can lead to your page getting red flagged.
By following the above best practices, you’ll soon get the hang of using social media to grow your cannabis business. These best practices aren’t complex, but knowing them puts you ahead of your competition and offers the potential for big payoffs – especially if you are able to drive new audiences to your website’s online menu!