How To Manage Strict Cannabis Social Media Regulations and Still Market Marijuana
Social media is one of the best ways for cannabis companies to market and promote their products and services. However, the current cannabis social media regulations make social media advertising a challenge.
Every entrepreneur in the legal cannabis business should be aware of the social media regulations related to cannabis advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media profiles like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google’s YouTube.
Even the organic content that many cannabis brands post daily on their business profiles without “boosting” or advertising the content is subject to strict cannabis social media regulations.
It’s not a surprise to hear that Instagram influencers have been banned from the platform for posting cannabis related content.
There are multiple Facebook and Instagram accounts that belong to cannabis influencers or directly to cannabis brands, that have had 10,000-50,000+ followers, who have been banned.
So how does a cannabis company effectively market and promote cannabis and CBD related products and services while remaining compliant with the cannabis social media regulations?
Here are 5 social media marketing tips to help you navigate the world of cannabis social media regulations and help you maximize your cannabis social media marketing.
5 Tips For Cannabis Social Media Marketing With Regulations
The cannabis social media marketing tips below have increased ROI/ROAS for many B2B and B2C local businesses and can be adapted to suit retail cannabis stores and medical marijuana businesses.
This particular cannabis social media strategy is particularly useful to generate awareness and increase your following for your cannabis retail store, product or brand.
1. Post Daily Organic Cannabis Content
We suggest posting a maximum of one photo or video per day on your business’s social media pages. However, we do not recommend posting this same content on all your social platforms.
While it may be “easier” and even more “cost effective” and make financial sense, it just doesn’t make any strategic sense.
Each social media platform is different from the others. The type of content and the types of users on each platform vary, and it’s important for your cannabis marketing team to understand all of this in order to develop a content strategy.
For example, a video may do super well on Facebook or YouTube, as compared to Instagram. But a really engaging image may do much better Instagram or garner more clicks from Twitter.
If you’re posting a video, do you want clicks to your website or do you want users to view the video on the platform so you can create a custom audience, segment and retarget effectively?
The answer is it really depends on what your end goal is, who you’re targeting, and where they are in your conversion funnel.
That’s why the same content on all platforms isn’t an effective cannabis social media marketing strategy.
When crafting a social media content strategy for your cannabis company, look at it as quality over quantity. You do not want to post more than one relevant and high-quality piece of content on each platform each day.
Having said that, you do want to post more daily content in your Instagram Stories and your Instagram TV. We’ll explain each further in the next tip.
Your Cannabis Advertising Restrictions: None, as you’re posting content organically – not via a paid ad. However, Instagram has been know to ban business accounts for posting cannabis related content. So get into it and have fun but tread carefully.
2. Use Instagram Stories – Highlight Your Cannabis Retail Store
Posting just one piece of content in your social media feeds is one thing. But Instagram Stories is one super awesome cannabis marketing opportunity offered by arguably the world’s most popular social network.
Using Instagram Stories allows your cannabis brand to humanize your dispensary, your product or your service. This allows you to connect on a deeper level with your target audience.
Instagram Stories are meant to be raw, real, and relevant to a particular moment.
Your business should use this type of content regularly as an opportunity to educate your followers on your cannabis products which will turn some of them into customers.
You can also use Instagram Stories to promote your cannabis store by taking advantage of polls and immediate audience feedback.
Instagram offers businesses a feature that allows you to add interactive polls to your Stories. These polls are a fun, frictionless way to get your audience engaged and hear their thoughts on cannabis-related products and services.
For example, you can engage directly with your followers and take advantage of some of the relevant and creative content they’ve generated and use that “user-generated content” as part of your polls in your Stories.
Cannabis stores and dispensaries can ask for feedback on the various marijuana strains you offer, the CBD oils, the edibles, and even the accessories you sell.
This data coming directly from your target market can be super valuable with your cannabis marketing strategy and save your brand some time & money.
A final tip for IG Stories is to use relevant hashtags in all of your Stories. Using popular and well-researched hashtags in your Stories, and posts in your IG Feed are a great way to get your content discovered by more people.
Your Cannabis Advertising Restrictions: Same as above, none. Your IG Stories are posted organically and seen for 24-hours by your followers and those that find your Story via hashtags. As above, we suggest you get into it and have fun but tread carefully.
3. Use Instagram TV To Drive Traffic To Your Cannabis Website
If your cannabis brand isn’t using Instagram TV or IGTV already, please add it to your list today. Here’s why.
Cannabis marketers need to understand that video is the future and the future is now.
Some background on IGTV. IGTV is a long-form video mobile app that’s also accessible within the Instagram app.
It shows full-screen vertical videos which anyone can upload. These videos on IGTV can be up to an hour long. Much longer than videos in the IG feed and in IG Stories.
What’s even more exciting for IGTV users, is that these figures are expected to rise, with Cisco predicting that by 2021, a massive 78% of mobile data traffic will be video.
Social media video needs to part of your cannabis marketing plan because:
– There’s been an 80% increase in the time people spend watching video on Instagram.
– Two-times the number of viewers are more likely to tell others about a video post/ad versus images or text posts/ads.
– 25% of people made a purchase after watching a video advertisement on social media.
As mentioned above, your IGTV videos can be up to 1-hour in length making it well suited for cannabis education about your products and services, demos of accessories, or even mini yours of your facilities.
Your IGTV videos can be as short as 15-seconds, so they don’t always need long-form content for IGTV posts.
It’s important to note here that the full 60-minute videos are reserved for verified accounts or accounts with a large number of followers.
In terms of engagement, your followers and other users can like or comment on your IGTV videos or send your IGTV videos to friends. So make them super engaging, relevant, and creative.
The best part about IG stores is that you can add a “swipe up” call-to-action on your videos! This “swipe-up” feature is usually offered to advertisements only, not organic content.
Your Cannabis Advertising Restrictions: IGTV is considered organic posting so like all other organic posts, be careful, use best practices, and monitor your account to ensure you’re compliant.
4. Use Social Media to Educate Your Prospects & Customers
The public – seasoned cannabis users or new school stoners – have all heard about how cannabis has helped people with chronic pain, depression, anxiety, diabetes, and cancer, but how are they to separate fact from fiction?
Typically cannabis has been viewed as a recreational drug with many also realizing some of the medical benefits of the plant.
This is why education is important and should come from the LPs (licensed producers) and all cannabis resellers.
It would be detrimental for cannabis retail stores to assume that their followers, customers, and prospects understand marijuana, THC, CBD, or anything else canna-related.
With legalization making marijuana mainstream many new school stoners, young and old, will be excited and curious about cannabis.
These potential new customers will follow your business accounts to find useful information, educational resources, and other cannabis-related content to educate themselves.
Publishing educational cannabis content that helps existing and future cannabis users understand the various products, services, and accessories in the space, will make your cannabis brand stand out ahead of your competitors and get that edge.
Your Cannabis Advertising Restrictions: None! You can use organic social media posts to drive traffic to your website containing cannabis education.
However, with declining organic reach on Facebook, you should also use content marketing and dispensary SEO tactics like blog content writing and e-books to drive qualified traffic to your website from organic search results.
5. Produce High-Quality Cannabis Content That Provides Value
How do you create cannabis content that provides value? Simple – you create useful content that answers all the questions your future customers have about your marijuana products.
Cannabis brands that create value for their prospects and customers with their organic or paid social media content will have an edge over competing marijuana companies.
If your content answers the questions the public has about cannabis consumption, marijuana smoking, edibles, CBD, oils, extracts, infused beverages, etc, you will become known as a source of valuable information about recreational marijuana products.
Most people will follow a page, follow a social profile, or return to a website that provides relevant, useful, and compelling content.
They’ll also refer that page or social profile to their like-minded friends because it has what they view as valuable content.
Cannabis brands should work with a content marketing professional to develop an optimized content strategy to populate their website, blog, and social platforms.
Our content team uses comprehensive keyword research to find the topics that our client’s target market is searching for. We then create relevant, high-quality content to that answers the target market’s questions.
Our cannabis and dispensary SEO team optimizes this content using short-tail, long-tail, and semantically related keyword search phrases to ensure the link shows up in a relevant Google/Bing search.
Optimized content marketing is an effective way to develop your website’s authority, relevance, and trust with Google and Bing for cannabis product related topics.
This, in turn, allows your website to rank for popular cannabis related search phrases that are relevant to your business, which starts to drive highly-qualified traffic to your website or retail store.
Your Cannabis Advertising Restrictions: None at all! You can write, publish, and share just about anything your customers want to know about without any worries about cannabis advertising regulations.
Creative Copywriting Helped Us Advertise Medical Cannabis on Facebook
Granted there are strict, yet murky, cannabis social media regulations to deal with but believe it or not, yes, you can advertise medical cannabis on Facebook.
We’ve actually been able to successfully run Facebook and Google advertising campaigns targeting medical marijuana growers, using the term “medical marijuana” and cannabis imagery in our ad creative in 2017 and 2018.
To learn how we increased conversions for the Canadian Greenhouse Conference we’ve laid it all it out in this case study.
If you’re looking for information on organic social media management for cannabis companies, we do offer complete management including social media content creation.
However, if you want proven social media marketing tips for dispensaries and cannabis retail stores, we’ve got you covered below!
How To Amplify Your Cannabis Messaging on Social Media
So as you can see, the cannabis social media regulations make it super challenging for marijuana retail stores and MMJ dispensaries to implement a social media advertising strategy.
But it’s not the end of the world! The 5 cannabis social media marketing tips above help you stay compliant with the cannabis social media regulations.
ColaDigital.ca is a highly experienced social media marketing agency that has implemented effective social media marketing strategies for over 100 B2B and B2C brands. We can do the same for your cannabis company.
Contact us today or submit your contact info using the form below and let’s get started on your cannabis social media marketing strategy.