Promoting the cannabis industry through mainstream means can be frustrating. In addition to the cannabis industry having to follow strict state and risk breaking federal laws, selling cannabis products often involves other restrictions. However, when you consider there are over 246 million social media users in the United States, using these platforms for promotion can be rewarding. Businesses that want to expand their reach while avoiding fines need to be creative in advertising to avoid being penalized by social media platforms. Many cannabis marketers have used social media to advertise their business. Here are some social media practices to help your cannabis business get the most out of social media.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Knowing your audience and identifying the best way to communicate with them is the first thing you’ll want to do. Take the time to gather information about your target audience and what they enjoy. Knowing your consumer’s age, gender, and income level can help you find a target audience. The research will help identify their level of knowledge, concerns, and current sources of information about cannabis. Knowing your audience will identify the best platform and approach to digital marketing your team takes.
POST EDUCATIONAL CONTENT
Rather than assume that followers of a dispensary already know the benefits of cannabis or are comfortable with it in general it is better to create content that educates consumers. This can help remove negative stigmas, make people less wary of, and help them choose a product more easily. This type of content will bring value to your page while informing your followers.
BUILD PRESENCE ON MULTIPLE PLATFORMS
Having a presence on multiple social media platforms is ideal when expanding the reach of your dispensary. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are examples of some of the more popular social media platforms but there are countless others. Depending on your target audience and content certain platforms may be better than others for hosting your content. Cannabis brands that maintain an existing presence on multiple platforms achieve their marketing goals more often, but it is important to follow the terms of those platforms. Failure to follow the terms and conditions of a social media platform can cause your account to be restricted or even banned.
INVEST IN PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
Content that contains images get 39% more interaction than a traditional text only post, and videos perform even better by being more engaging. Your dispensary should consider a mix of text, images, and video to keep visitors engaged with the content. Using keywords, hashtags, and even paid advertising can help you reach a wider audience and garner higher interaction with the content.
While having a high number of followers on social media can be appealing it shouldn’t be the main goal of your social media page. If you have a high number of followers but only a small number of them engage with the content you are wasting your posting potential. It’s important to not only host good content on your page but to engage with the audience and create relationships. Starting and maintaining conversations is a great way to provide customer service, receive immediate feedback, and let the customer know you generally care about their needs.
PARTNER WITH SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS
Working with influencers can help you make the most of customer relationships. Influencers typically follow a wide range of media and help spread their message to their audience. The industry influencer can be a great way to achieve organic growth by putting your information below their own posts. In this way an influencer’s followers are also reached by your dispensary. Another idea for building your relationship is to turn your customers into influencers themselves. Encouraging them to tag you in posts and tell friends about their recent experiences expands your audience. If consumers are happy to share your information and agree to endorse your product their word of mouth can influence others to check out your store.
HIRE A CANNABIS MARKETING AGENCY
Doing business in the cannabis industry can be challenging. Hiring a cannabis related marketing agency can ease advertising restrictions and reduce your chances of being flagged or restricted on social media accounts as agencies stay up to date on current marketing laws. A marketing agency keeps track of the most searched for keywords to use in posts so your dispensary shows up over a competitor’s. Your agency of choice should test and evaluate your business strategy over time and make appropriate adjustments to ensure positive results.
UNDERSTAND THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Marketing cannabis on social media is risky business. Today, media companies are under continuous watch by the government and must comply with all laws and regulations to stay in operation. Most social media channels have guidelines and restrictions for promoting cannabis. Before investing in an advertising company, you should familiarize yourself with a site’s rules to maintain a professional image and avoid shut down for failure to follow them.
GIVE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE A REASON TO VISIT YOUR PAGE.
While following rules and guidelines is important it’s also important to have a page that’s fun to interact with. Encourage customers to interact with your page by having contests with freebies, reply to their questions and comments, and offer online support to get the most out of an online presence. Advertising online can be a powerful tool to overcome marketing challenges and to increase the number of customers you serve. Social media can significantly impact your image and business, and so working with an organization that specializes in this type of media is the best way to go due to their familiarity not only with rules, but with what social media users will want to engage with. Some social media platforms are specialized and geared toward cannabis consumers. Becoming familiar with them can help you find one that works best for you and your customers.
Here are some cannabis-friendly social media platforms to get you started with your research:
Leafwire: Leafwire is a new cannabis social network, but it’s growing quickly. This community is targeted to businesses and professionals and calls itself the LinkedIn of cannabis.
MjLink: Formerly known as WeedCircles, MjLink focuses on businesses and professionals.
Duby: Duby is the most prominent cannabis social network geared for consumers.
CannaSOS: CannaSOS is another cannabis social network focusing on consumer’s experience.
Promoting deals is not the most efficient way to use social media. There is the risk of being flagged and even removed from social media platforms for advertising cannabis for sale. Even posting too many images of cannabis plants themselves can be risky. Despite the plant being the main ingredient in cannabis products, pictures of it will not appeal to all visitors and can cause red flags on social media.
If you follow the practices above, you’ll soon be using social media to grow your cannabis business. These steps aren’t tricky, but knowing them helps you stay ahead of the competition and you’ll reap the rewards of attracting new customers.