Instagram Marketing for Cannabis Dispensaries

In our modern digital age, a robust social media marketing strategy must be a top priority for all marketers. Among the many pieces you can build into your digital dispensary marketing plan, social media marketing has proven itself to be extremely effective. With the world practically living online since the onset of the pandemic, such strategies have become even more important.

The Power of Social Media Marketing in the Cannabis Industry

Even before COVID, 90% of marketers said that social media marketing generated “immense” exposure. Today, with COVID sending the world more online than ever, we can only assume this exposure to be significantly higher.

A strong social media marketing strategy is one of the best ways to grow and expand your cannabis brand. While many cannabis brands are worried about developing their identities on social media platforms, the reach of social media marketing makes it impossible to overlook, even in the cannabis industry.

Social media marketing is assumed difficult because of the strict restrictions on most platforms’ paid advertising channels. Typically, cannabis marketing is banned from paid advertising. Yet the possibilities on social media are still vast. From building and engaging with your community to sharing updates that are highly likely to reach their target audience, social media marketing belongs in your dispensary marketing plan.

In previous articles, we have discussed just how effective social media marketing can be. But in this article, we will be focusing on Instagram specific marketing tactics.

Instagram versus other Social Media Platforms

Person Holding Phone While Logging-in on Instagram ApplicationWhile there are many social media platforms in which cannabis dispensaries can build a following on and make a name for themselves, Instagram marketing stands out above the rest as a way to increase your online presence and raise brand awareness.

Instagram posts are special because it allows you to grab your audience with eye-catching pictures while also connecting with them through captions and interacting with them in the comments section. More, Instagram’s stories make it, as a social media platform, especially powerful, providing a space where you can give your customers a special behind the scenes look into your dispensary and the inner workings of the cannabis industry.

All of this allows you to not only build brand awareness but to also build a voice and personality for your dispensary. When executed well, existing or potential customers identify deeply with you, follow your business, and, hopefully, regularly purchase your cannabis products.

Building Your Cannabis Brand – Not Selling your Flower

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.

1 billion people use Instagram every month, and 500 million people use Instagram’s stories daily. Your potential reach on the social media platform could be huge. Among these users, a whopping 63% log-in at least once a day, according to the Pew Research Center. That means you’ll have the opportunity to connect with your customer base at least once a day.

Eager to see how to grow your following on Instagram and take advantage of the benefits of organic marketing on Instagram? In this article we will be discussing tips that will help you take advantage of Instagram and grow your following during the pandemic.

In the rest of the article, we will discuss:

  • Posting regularly about business essentials
  • The importance of a post schedule
  • Identifying and targeting your audience
  • Instagram stories and live
  • Frequent calls-to-action
  • Influencer marketing
  • Utilizing your other marketing channels
  • Instagram Don’ts

Let’s jump in by first discussing some of the easiest and most important posts you’ll make: posts about your dispensary’s basic operation details.

Post regularly about business essentials

Regardless of how many followers you have, you should always be mindful of newer customers and post regularly about general store details such as…

  • Open, Sign, Signage, Neon, Business, Store, RestaurantYour store hours and location
  • Delivery or pick-up options
  • Website URL so they can learn more
  • Text-to-join or scan-to-join codes
  • Phone number

Also, make sure that new customers that may be viewing your page for the first time can also find a majority of this information in your bio. But just be sure to not mention anything about cannabis in your bio to avoid being flagged.

Make a post schedule

Calender, Icon, Pictogram, Web, Black, Number, HolidayA post schedule is crucial to having an effective Instagram presence as it ensures that you remain consistent with quality posts. You 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 you have a content strategy that includes a post schedule for every month or quarter can help you and your dispensary stay on top of your posts and keep your customers engaged.

Make sure your posts target your target audience

Microphone, Graphic, Audience, Musical, CommunicationWhen using Instagram, it is important to keep in mind who your target audience is. While you may already have a specific audience in mind, Instagram’s platform lends itself well to marketing to both Gen X and millennials. In fact 75% of 18-24 year olds and 57% of 25-30 year olds use Instagram. These age groups likely make up a majority of your audience, and it would be best to make sure that your posts are more often than not aimed at these demographics.

In saying this, it is always important to stick to the voice your existing customers associate with your brand. If your company voice is more professional and educational, then stick to that. If your company voice is more playful and lax, then stick to that.

Instagram Stories and Live

Like we said above, over 500 million people view Instagram stories daily. Not only that, but 62% of people say that they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories.

Instagram, Application, Phone, Apple, Iphone, LiveStories are especially powerful because they allow you to put up content that is less rehearsed and shows the humanity in your dispensary. It allows you to give your audience behind the scenes looks into your dispensary’s operations and lets you highlight specific aspects such as your employees, a special event you’re having, and more.

Instagram live is especially useful during COVID because it allows you to connect with your audience in real time. That means you can stream special events at your dispensary online so even customers who aren’t physically can still feel like they are a part of your dispensary’s community.

Calls-to-Action

Making sure that each of your posts, or at least most of them, have a clear call to action is crucial to generating leads for your business. As we will discuss below, it is against policy to sell cannabis on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean you can’t link to your website where you can sell cannabis.

You can also include things such as text-to-join or scan-to-join codes that take your followers off of Instagram and either opt them into receiving text message marketing campaigns from your dispensary or joining your dispensary’s loyalty rewards program. Other things you could link to are things such as blogs or videos you made as a part of your dispensary’s content marketing strategy.

Recruit Influencers

As we have said, the world has been living online as a result of the pandemic. More time on newsfeeds and timelines has grown the prestige and following of social media influencers across the board. Who says their growth cannot be reflected in cannabis brands’ social media 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. Some studies found 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. A recent survey found that 79% of individuals considered Instagram as the most important social media platform for influencer marketing (followed by Facebook at 46% and YouTube at 36%).

Springbig can help you take advantage of influencer marketing with Budz.

Interested in learning how? You can learn more by reading our article on how local influencer marketing can take dispensary loyalty to the next level.

Publicize through your other cannabis marketing channels

While this may seem pretty basic, incorporating your instagram @ within your other marketing channels can help drive traffic to your Instagram’s page and help make the most out of your marketing efforts. That means attaching Instagram and other social media icons to your company logo so that customers know that you’re active on social media.

Whether it’s a blog post, a native ad, or another online cannabis marketing tactic, attach your Instagram and other social media icons on all your cannabis marketing initiatives.

Instagram don’ts

If you’re able to implement the above into a comprehensive Instagram strategy, then you’re almost certain to raise awareness and gain followers during the pandemic. But, you have to be careful.

Instagram has strict guidelines prohibiting the sale and promotion of cannabis. According to their policy:

Sign, Designation, Without Background, Prohibition“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.”

Because of this, there are a couple of things cannabis companies won’t want to include in their social media content in order to make sure their account is not flagged or taken down:

Don’t post pictures of cannabis products

There is some wiggle room here. While to be safe we would suggest that you don’t post pictures of your cannabis products and instead post pictures of your team, business, customers, and events, you may be able to post pictures of your products. Do so at your own discretion.

That being said, you can avoid your post being flagged if you are going to post your cannabis 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 your social media marketing goes.

Don’t list prices or try to sell ANYTHING

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. Thus, it is against policy to attempt to sell cannabis via Instagram posts or even to link to your dispensary’s inventory page.

Don’t put ANYTHING about cannabis in your bio

Your bio will be the first introduction people have to you page, so you’ll want it to stand out and adhere to the voice you choose for your cannabis brand.

However, you want to be sure not mention cannabis, weed, marijuana, or any other variant of the name in it. You will 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.

While it may seem difficult to be a dispensary that doesn’t post pictures of cannabis, you’ll find there are still tons of options when it comes to posting. Instagram marketing can include posts about your loyalty program, stories about your employees, discussions about store operations, educational content, and more.

Recap

Instagram is crucial to any digital marketing strategy. If you are able to adhere to the above tips, then you’ll surely be on your way to growing your followers on Instagram and increasing brand awareness despite the adverse effects of COVID. By regularly communicating details about your dispensary’s operations, making a post schedule, Utilizing instagram live and stories, including calls to action in your posts, and ensuring you avoid anything that could get your account flagged, your Instagram account will be set to explode.

Cannabis Marketing with springbig

Dispensary marketing is full of moving parts. For many cannabis companies, keeping up with all the demands of dispensary marketing can feel impossible. Springbig solves that.

With springbig’s marketing suite, enjoy unprecedented results from your dispensary marketing plan without the constant effort. From our industry-leading loyalty rewards program to our SMS text message marketing platform, springbig’s dispensary marketing suite will yield you an impressive ROI – all while staying compliant.

To learn more, check out our website or request a demo here.

increase retention, boost revenue, build customer loyalty, & create smarter marketing campaigns.

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