Statistics from 2019 and early 2020 indicate that there are estimated ~3.5-4.5 billion social media users; This population transcends age demographics. More precisely, statistics from Emarketer indicate that 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are using some form of social media on a daily basis. This means that, if you are not on social media, or advertising to those who are, you are really not marketing in the right places.
That said, social media marketing for cannabis businesses is not a very straight forward affair. There are some regulations and barriers that restrict how cannabis can be marketed through this channel.
Before we get into our favorite subject here at MLMP, let me remind you that accounts across all social media platforms have been shutdown and banned for violating terms of service on both Facebook and Instagram, remembering that they're both under the same corporate umbrella, following federal law in the United States. However, this does not mean that cannabis-related businesses cannot tap into the marketing potential of social media.
In the next few minutes we will attempt to bring you up to speed on negotiating the waters surrounding cannabis marketing across social media channels.
For starters, we'll just name a few of the relevant channels we'll be looking at: You Tube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, are some of the key pieces to your best marketing campaigns. These 5 channels and a few of their established partners, will assist in putting your brand in front of the people who are most likely to make a purchase, enjoy your products, and share the experiences with similar people, for you.
1. How To Market Cannabis on Facebook
You are likely to find most of your clientele on Facebook, regardless of age demographics. The best way to go about marketing on Facebook is to regularly publish educational content. Apart from talking about your products you should aim to educate your clients generally about cannabis. Aim to publish daily educational content without directly adverting. This will help you build trust with your audience and help to rubberstamp your authority in the industry. Once in a while it is okay to advertise your products but this should not be your mainstay. Aim instead to post content that will boost your engagement rate and the time spent on your Facebook page.
Ok, that's the hokey pokey explanation about marketing cannabis on Facebook, but the following should be considered as the approach used by marketing campaigns that aim to disrupt the mainstream:
Get super specific with who your audience is. Find our where they hang out, why they hang out there, other people like them that also hang out with them where ever they go, and then dangle an irresistible carrot in front of their faces.
Example: We own a cannabis company. The leader of said cannabis company has generated more than 1 billion dollars for his investors. Lets say he wanted to give a motivational speech at a conference. In order to advertise the conference, Facebook won't let me go to my ads manager and select an audience who "loves cannabis," or "cannabis shows," so, our team has to become creative without blowing money on influencers to help out, because ultimately, we want to own the data in our stored pixel for future use.
So, we build a pixel for lead conversions designed around a set of landing pages where the head of our cannabis company partners with one of the top motivational speakers in the world just for this fantastic event. By doing so, we can now target specific audiences built around the other successful motivational speaker, and drip content designed to engage the audience member who's trying to decide if the new piece of the relationship they were just exposed to, was worth it. If so, we now own that data and it can be used in all future campaigns.
We're here to break wheels, not play by the rules.
2. How To Market Cannabis on Instagram
For Instagram marketing, a mix of stories with a continuous feed of regular posts work the best. You will need an effective strategy for telling your stories on Instagram. This means using pictures to get customers interested in what you are doing on your main posts, and the behind the scenes aspect in your day to day stories.
Instagram stories should be multi-dimensional. First, they need to be reflective of what the brand represents; tone and values included.
Secondly, they should tell the story of the brand in a way that helps customers connect personally with the company - Let the company appear human by allowing your customers to witness what goes on in the company on a daily basis. This includes the journey the products take before they are finally in the hands of the customer and should also include the team that diligently works to give customers the best experience.
Lastly, be informative and educational. Make sure that you are abreast of what is going on in the industry and be the first one to let your customers know about it.
Proper content sizing is also important knowledge for marketing cannabis on social media. Create customized 9×16 videos to tell engaging Instagram stories.
3. Use Social Media Influencers
Influencers may charge you an arm and a leg and you might a plethora of questions as to why, but mainly, you're just looking for impressions. Influencers may help to give you the much needed clout to get your products purchased by those who have seen, or taken little notice via your other campaigns.
One survey showed that at least 1 in 2 consumers rely on influencer recommendation before purchasing a product (Fourcommunications, 2018).
If you are a new cannabis company it could be costly to hire the influencer who might best serve your brands style and messaging, but it could also change the game for you and your company in terms of quick scaling methods.
4. Lets do Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube all at once!
Its not the we're lazy, promise. More precisely, we don't want to give you too much at one time and create this giant wall of text that's incredibly hard to digest.
Twitter is perfect for nurturing brand messaging. It's advanced crowd dynamic and hashtag search tools (without the censoring found in Instagram) allow you to connect directly with other accounts immediately. Twitter is widely regarded as a battleground for conflicting opinions which serves as direct data to be utilized in any brands messaging.
LinkedIn reminds us a bit of high school, but with adult resumes and all the little bells and whistles to tell people who you are, where you come from, and what your general purpose might be moving forward. LinkedIn has stepped up recently with messaging features and the capability of advertising your blogs, or articles that are designed to be picked up inside "your network" and thrust in front of others. So, with the recent additions to LinkedIn, we believe the platform will soon rival, and far outpace the need for Facebook groups and messenger chatbots. LinkedIn is certainly the most professional among the listed social platforms.
Youtube. Everyone wants to make Youtube money, but nobody understands the efforts and time necessary to nurture your audience over a long period of time; every body wants to go "viral" and they often think that happens by accident also...hint: it doesn't.
Most viral content on Youtube is pushed into viral status through a series of well-designed loops, good SEO, and just plain "grassroots" efforts immediately following the upload. Or, maybe you teased an already established audience with new content. "Viral loops" are incentives on the backend of shared content for you and friends to continue sharing. Ad spend on new suspected viral content could potentially launch the impressions to the moon, and keep people around the world whispering the name of your brand every second of the day. Used cohesively, a good Youtube campaign can launch a brand to stardom.
Challenges are abound in cannabis marketing, especially when it comes to social media. Sometimes you will work to produce compliant ads, only to miss the smallest detail and have them revoked, or worse, an account banned. Right now, that’s really the name of the game: Staying Ahead of Compliancy. With the above tips, you should be able to develop a strategic marketing plan for your cannabis business, and if not, we'd be happy to help.
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