For any business or industry looking to improve their marketing strategy, social media is a huge player, if not THE most effective platform to access a broad audience spectrum. One so vast, that you would otherwise never have the potential to reach with conventional brand and promotional strategies. Such a powerful tool, and the ability to tap this rich resource with the right ‘keywords’ and ‘hashtags’ is paramount.
However, since the practice of advertising cannabis is relatively new, many businesses are struggling to understand and comply with regulations – resulting in blocked post and locked accounts. This intersection of social media and the politics of cannabis can be crippling for businesses and brands trying to compete for consumers’ attention.
While regulations may be hindering marketing creativity, there are still many ways to advertise while staying within the law. So how can we work with the regulations and legally promote products and industry content?
KEEPING THE DIGITAL GATEKEEPERS AT BAY
If you want to be taken seriously, don’t pigeonhole yourself by using stereotypical language. References like getting high, stoned, baked or blazed does you no favours. While language like this does appeal to certain clientele, choosing the right wording when tackling social media can make or break some campaigns (and accounts).
It’s overwhelming to manage social media, and is a lot of work to do it right. Many social channels like Instagram have been known to delete or suspend accounts that mention selling cannabis. Using your social media as a sales technique runs a high risk of having your account deleted. Medical cannabis is still fighting for legitimacy on social media, so steer clear of mentioning sales or inventory. Your content should be meaningful and promotional, not a method of sales.
On platforms like Instagram, users can follow ‘hashtags’ like they would independent accounts, so take advantage of using niche and popular hashtags to get noticed. Be sure to do your research to avoid using banned or spammy hashtags. Also, stay clear of using repeat hashtags on the daily to avoid triggering the spam radar. Use alternating tags or use different groups of tags for your different types of posts to keep your account preserved.
Using stories to highlight and promote your cannabis industry business is a powerhouse marketing opportunity available on Instagram. ‘Stories’ are discoverable, which means that even users who don’t follow you can see your content, giving you more exposure and engagement. Stories are unique – in that they are posted organically and seen for only 24 hours, providing a small loophole window countering cannabis advertising restrictions. Also consider the option of influencer marketing to get around limits on organic reach and restrictive paid advertising policies.
Due to the rigorous content restrictions on traditional social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, many businesses and cannabis enthusiasts have turned to smaller, cannabis friendly networks. There are many industry focused platforms that can be used to tap into a larger, more industry focused audience base. Take a look at cannabis social network options like Leafwire, CanaSOS, and Weedable. Don’t be limited to the big players in the social media realm.
While the cannabis industry is still considered uncharted territory by many in the marketing space – social media, traversed correctly, can help you build brand awareness and reach your target audience even if you are unable to sell on these platforms. It’s a budding cannabis industry. Concentrate on your content, be blunt, and try not to shatter your account with a bake sale.
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