Cannabis marketing is hard, so making sure that you are utilizing every possible channel in your digital marketing strategy is key to getting the highest ROI out of it. That means you have to adapt your marketing plan to the modern-day in order to make sure you’re doing everything you can to bring in new customers and reach your target audience, but how do you do this?
While search engine optimization and content marketing are both great marketing tactics, one of the cannabis marketing strategies that is truly optimized for today’s world but too often slips through the cracks of many dispensary marketing plans is cannabis social media marketing.
This makes sense too because social media marketing for cannabis businesses can be hard. Many social media platforms have extremely harsh policies regarding what can be advertised on their platforms – especially when it comes to cannabis. Let’s just take a look at some of the main social media platforms’ policies:
According to Facebook’s Terms and Conditions, “Ads must not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs.” They even give an example of recreational marijuana as not being allowed.
According to Instagram’s, “Our policy prohibits any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers, email addresses, street addresses, or by using the “contact us” tab in Instagram Business Accounts.
According to Twitter’s advertising policies, “Twitter prohibits the promotion of drugs and drug paraphernalia.” The policy goes on to cite recreational and herbal drugs specifically as being against their advertisement policies.
So how can a cannabis dispensary take advantage of the benefits of cannabis social media marketing and run a marketing campaign successfully with all of these different policies banning talk about cannabis? In this article, you’ll find out how to integrate social media marketing into your online marketing strategy. But first, let’s talk numbers.
With 3.3 billion social media users around the world, social media is one of the best ways to market to your target audience and target specific demographics – especially if you’re a cannabis dispensary. What’s more is that opposed to other marketing channels like native ad marketing or display advertising, marketing and creating brand awareness on social media comes at no cost to you and allows your brand to be spread from your customers sharing your content with their friends and family.
According to Falcon.IO, the likelihood that customers would recommend a brand they identify with on social media to others is 71%, and 85.8% of marketers don’t have a social media influencer budget integrated into their marketing budget. This presents a huge opportunity to get ahead of the competition.
What makes this even better is that 54% of people use social media for product research and reply to impressions from social media. So that means while your competitors are falling behind, you’ll be making a name for your brand on social media and thus increasing your sales. Clearly, having a social media strategy is crucial, but how can you do that when so many policy restrictions make using social media as a dispensary so hard?
While there are many social media platforms that lend themselves well to cannabis social media marketing, there is one social media platform that stands out above the others: Instagram.
That’s not to say the others aren’t important, because it is important that your customers are able to find you on whatever platform they frequent. But Instagram is one of the especially important social channels that dispensaries need to utilize because it allows you to build your online presence by leveraging the two most effective forms of media, photo, and video.
Instagram is special because it allows you to grab your audience with eye-catching pictures while also connecting with them through captions and keeping in touch with them in the comments.
What makes it even more powerful are Instagram’s stories where you can give your customers a special behind the scenes look into your dispensary. All of this allows you to not only build brand awareness but also build a voice and personality for your dispensary which will ultimately lead to customers or potential customers identifying with you, following your business, and hopefully purchase your products.
It’s important to note here that your goal isn’t to increase sales on Instagram, but to build awareness. With more brand awareness (and some patience) the sales will come.
While it holds huge potential, social media marketing is risky business because of all the restrictions we mentioned above, and one thing you’ll want to avoid is trying to sell anything directly through social media – so yes, hopefully, they are purchasing your products, just not through a link on your Instagram. This isn’t the only thing you should watch out for.
Building your brand on social media can be hard as a cannabis dispensary, but it can be done and can have huge pay-offs given you can do the following:
Your bio will be the first introduction people have to your page, so you’ll want it to stand out and adhere to the voice you choose for your brand, but you want to make sure you don’t mention cannabis, weed, marijuana, or any other variant of the name in it.
You’ll also want to make sure that your bio mentions that your content is for users 21+ to make sure you are adhering to Instagram’s guidelines.
What is dangerous about investing in and building a following on Instagram is that if your account gets deleted, you lose all of those followers and your entire investment – so it is best to try to take your subscribers off of Instagram and make them a text or email recipients.
That way, you can more directly market to them and give yourself a safety net just in case your account does get deleted.
Customer engagement is crucial, but too often you see businesses failing to respond to comments on their posts. While at some points there may be too many to respond to, it is always good practice to try messaging customers back and responding to comments as fast as possible.
In this way, you are showing your customers you care and making a good impression on them so that they will then spread the word about your dispensary.
Your subscribers won’t stick around if you aren’t consistent with your post. If you fail to post for weeks or months at a time, your subscribers will more than likely go find a dispensary or page that does post weekly and puts out content regularly.
Making sure your social media content strategy includes a posting schedule for every month or quarter can help you and your dispensary stay on top of your posts and keep your customers engaged.
One of the main benefits of social media is the analytics and insights that come with using it. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all come with analytics for businesses that can help businesses better understand what posts are working, and what posts aren’t.
In this way, optimizing your social media marketing strategy is made much easier. For example, you may find that linking to your website on your Instagram Story as opposed to in the comments of your posts is more conducive to customer engagement and lead-generation.
Instagram specifically states that selling or attempting to sell drugs on the platform is against policy. While cannabis is widely accepted by many, it is still a schedule-1 drug federally and thus it is against policy to attempt to sell cannabis on Instagram or even to link to your dispensary’s inventory page.
There is some wiggle room here – while to be safe we would suggest that you don’t post pictures of your products and instead post pictures of your team, business, customers, and events, you may be able to post pictures of your products. But if you do, it is at your own discretion.
That being said, you can avoid your post being flagged if you are going to post your products by making sure that your caption doesn’t mention anything about cannabis, marijuana, or any other variants of the name.
At the end of the day, it’s completely up to you and you can build a substantial following no matter which way you go.
If you follow the above guidelines when putting together and posting on your Instagram account, then you should be on your way to building a following and growing your brand awareness – but if you want to take your social media marketing strategy to the next level, then you should consider making room in your marketing budget for influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing turns your loyal customers or followers into your top advocates by enabling them to share promotional posts of your brand to their social networks in exchange for benefits at your dispensary or compensation.
This type of marketing has become extremely popular, and for good reason, it has proven itself to be extremely effective. For starters, it has the potential to yield an impressive ROI, with studies finding that on average businesses are making $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
Instagram itself has proven itself to be the most effective platform for influencer marketing, with a recent survey finding that 79% of individuals considered Instagram as the most important platform for their influencer marketing, followed by Facebook at 46% and YouTube at 36%.
Studies also show that many businesses, 61%, found it difficult to find relevant influencers for their campaigns. Lucky for you springbig has you covered in that area with our referral platform Budz, which allows you to enable your loyalty members to become influencers for your brand.
With unique referral links for each of your loyalty members, live data to track results and more, you’ll be able to get the most out of your influencer marketing strategy, optimize your social media marketing plan, and meet your business goals with springbig’s Budz.