Cannabis Social Media Marketing Explained

Trust and word-of-mouth are fundamental values in the cannabis business. 

Social media platforms for the cannabis industry are reliable tools to win a customer’s trust. Social media allows you to quickly and easily spread your product’s recommendations across users. 

It is a misconception that cannabis social media marketing is limited only to popular social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Using cannabis-centric social media and employing influencer marketing is vital to your cannabis marketing plan. 

In another article, we explained cannabis marketing strategies to help grow a brand. In this article, we will shed light on the world of cannabis marketing and social media. 

Marketing cannabis on Facebook

What is legal?

Facebook prohibits any content promoting marijuana and pharmaceutical drugs in its community standards. The regulations forbid any sellers or global dispensaries from promoting their business or contact details on Facebook. 

What is working?

  • Cannabis businesses are still allowed to manage professional pages on Facebook. 
  • You can use automated responses on Facebook Messenger to show that your business is active. You can greet visitors with an automated message and provide answers to FAQs. 
  • Offering chatbot integration. Some third-party solutions like MobileMonkey merge with Facebook Messenger to boost your page’s engagement and offer advanced automated messaging to your followers. 
  • Joining local Facebook groups in your area with your business account (or page) to stay in touch with the local community, news, and discussions. By taking part in ongoing dialogues, you are marketing your product within these groups. 

Marketing cannabis on Instagram

What is legal?

Instagram also forbids people or companies from using their platform to advertise or sell cannabis products regardless of state or country. Even using the Contact Us tab in Instagram Business Accounts is prohibited for marijuana sellers. 

What is working?

  • Employing hashtags to drive traffic organically, staying updated with trends related to your business, and posting creative, associated content. 
  • Encouraging your Instagram followers through prizes to share authentic user-generated content while mentioning your account to expand your audience reach to their network. 

Marketing cannabis on YouTube

What is legal?

YouTube (Google-owned platform) lists cannabis under dangerous products and services. The guidelines ban promotional ads for any cannabis relevant products or services. 

What is working?

  • Searching for any famous cannabis brand is futile. You are unlikely to find a brand channel or any videos. What you may find are popular cannabis reviewers like RuffHouseStudios sharing their personal user experience with followers. You should encourage YouTube-rs to share videos on their channels to share positive experiences with your product.
  • Educating your audience. You can follow Royal Queen Seeds’ example for your channel—they are successful with posting educational videos explaining how to grow, dry, or harvest cannabis.

Marketing cannabis on Twitter

What is legal?

Twitter generally prohibits the promotion of drugs, including recreational and herbal drugs and drug dispensaries. However, some country-specific exemptions are applied for licensed advertisers targeting Canada and approved topical CBD advertisers targeting the US.

What is working?

  • Posting cannabis articles from reputable resources to boost your brand image. It’s especially powerful when it’s news about your business!
  • Retweeting cannabis technology or legalization updates from other resources can make you a reference source for cannabis enthusiasts and drive traffic to your page.   
  • Retweeting reviews and praise from customers and retailers indicates credibility and a positive reputation for your brand. 

Marketing cannabis on Snapchat

What is legal?

The community guidelines in Snapchat prohibit “buying or selling illegal drugs,” which doesn’t include medical and licensed cannabis businesses. Therefore, HEXO, Tweed, and Tokyo Smoke are examples of brands that used Snapchat to advertise their products. 

What is working?

  • Focusing on brand education. FIGR gives an example of her ad on Snapchat that plays on their track-and-trace using numbers on the packages. 
  • Using appealing, animated, and colorful images that depict a lifestyle that is relevant to many Snapchat users.  

Cannabis-centric social media

Reaching out to the cannabis market can be efficiently achieved on social media platforms for the cannabis industry. Popular digital cannabis communities can be a more attractive alternative to traditional social media.

There are fewer ad restrictions on these networks, more tolerance to cannabis content, and an eager target audience that is more likely to respond to your marketing message.

Social cannabis networks

Most of these networks are still relatively new, with fewer registered users and less engagement, but they are growing quickly and produce enough traffic to attract advertisers. Examples of active platforms are 420magazine, Grasscity, Weedlife, and Weedable

The forums and blogs on these networks offer members guidance and peer-to-peer advice on growing and consuming cannabis products. They bring enthusiasts, patients, and dispensaries together on the same social network to connect, share, and learn from one another. 

Some offer a “side hustle” online shop for their products or retailers’ items. 

Cannabis apps

Apps like Bud Hubs, Duby, 420 Singles, and High There are cannabis-centric social media. They bring together fellow cannabis users in a cool way. Some apps are focused on travel experiences, others on sharing cannabis lifestyle, and still others for meeting and dating like-minded people and making friends.

Cannabis professional networks 

Even business networking has been realized by some cannabis social media. Companies and cannabis entrepreneurs can use platforms such as Mjlink, Leafwire, or CannaSoS to search, connect, and share business updates and cannabis events.

Especially for CBD brands and wholesalers, business networks are essential to growing their brands. These networks are a straightforward solution to market their products, where they can certainly expect to meet potential business partners. 

Cannabis social media marketing strategies

No matter which of the social media networks you are using, we recommend following these marketing strategies. Try applying these marketing strategies on social media: 

Participate in the community

You have to realize that these networks provide two-way communication between you and your customers. For this reason, you should allot time to engage with content from other community participants. Make comments that show that you are an engaged and credible member of the community. 

Be creative but avoid using discrediting language

Don’t cross the (thin) line between being part of the professional community and being just another “pothead.” Speaking in stoner jargon can mar your image, undermine your knowledge as an authority, and bruise your reputation. 

If you aim to be a trusted business, it’s important to stick with credible and professional language.

Stay informed of legal regulations

Your marketing activities on social media are subject to legal regulations. Your reputation could suffer if one of your social media accounts got blocked or deleted suddenly for violating community guidelines or local laws. 

Learn more about these regulations in our article on cannabis advertising.

Regularly monitor social media activities

Managing your social media presence can be a high maintenance job. If you started on one platform and invested much time to grow a customer base, you may need to assign a customer care team to follow-up on comments and messages. 

You may want to hire staff who are also trained to work on your website content, as well as to handle inquiries on social media and cannabis-centric platforms.  

Influencer marketing

An influencer’s impact perfectly matches with the core values of cannabis marketing—trust. An influencer is successful when managing to gain followers’ trust from specific demographics and who have common interests. Thus, influencer marketing provides cannabis brands the opportunity to directly access an engaged and targeted audience. 

How to integrate influencer marketing into your cannabis social media marketing strategy?

  • Pick your influencer. The influencer’s personality (activist, entertainer, or educator) and followers’ segment (health advice seekers, gamers, or professional men) will determine which influencer matches your products and brand identity. Their fans should match with your targeted customer group. 
  • Approach the influencer. Start by following a potential candidate on social media to get a sense of the influencers’ language and voice. Try first marketing your products to influencers to catch their eyes and gain their trust before asking them to endorse your brand.
  • Ask for original content. A strong marketing message is transmitted via authentic user-generated content. Let your influencers use their voice when promoting your brand and product experience to your followers. 

The bottom line

Building a cannabis brand on social media is a crucial element of a cannabis marketing plan. Despite the tight ad restrictions on mainstream social media, there are still possible techniques to reach targeted audiences on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. 

Nevertheless, marketers need to be open to exploring the potential of cannabis-centric social media and integrating influencers into their social media marketing strategies.

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