A large number of marijuana consumers use either word of mouth or social media to pick their brand of choice. Comments and reviews on various social media platforms showcase the quality of a brand. To be able to reach their customers, marijuana brands have to improve their social media presence.
In spite of the rise of digital marketing, social media networks have introduced strict restrictions on cannabis marketing and promotion. You have to be aware of these rules, and the way to bypass them, if you wish to up your marijuana social media advertising. Here’s how you can accomplish it with relative ease.
Knowing the regulations
Unfortunately, marijuana is still a Schedule I drug federally, making it technically still illegal. To market your marijuana brand effectively, you have to know what you can and cannot do on social media.
Failing to abide by the rules of a website can get you temporarily or permanently banned. It’s not smart to lose your entire account and following just because you didn’t take the time to study the advertising restrictions.
For each of the most famous social media platforms, we’ve broken down their social media advertising restrictions. Be aware of each detail as you plan each social media campaign.
- The biggest social network in the world forbids the promotion of drugs and anything related to drugs. Both legal prescription and illegal recreational drugs are strictly forbidden. This doesn’t mean just flowers – you can’t advertise edibles, vape pens or anything else.
- Don’t think you can fool Facebook’s algorithm by not including any sensitive words or placing an unrelated image. The restrictions include both images and text in your ads.
- Not abiding by the restrictions can lead to your campaign suspended or getting banned from launching a campaign for some time. The worst case scenario is getting your account banned.
- Since Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, the same restrictions are applied on both networks. This means no inclusion of cannabis in images or descriptions.
- However, Instagram is much more lax than Facebook, and some pages easily get away with short insinuations and links to their website. Cannabis paraphernalia is known to “squeeze through” the rules.
- Twitter’s ad policies forbid the marketing of any illegal good through their ad campaigns. Since marijuana is a Schedule I drug, this applies to your cannabis business as well.
- The list also includes drug paraphernalia or anything that might relate to illegal substances. In comparison to Facebook, Twitter is much more lax and allows merchandise advertising as well as links.
- LinkedIn also disallows the open promotion, sales and explicit imagery of any illegal substances. They are somewhere between Facebook and Twitter in terms of being strict on marijuana social media advertising.
- Even pharmaceutical drugs are forbidden, which means LinkedIn wants to shield themselves from being affiliated with medication.
- Snapchat forbids the explicit advertising of illegal drugs, sharing imagery of any illicit substances or actively encouraging use.
- This is very rarely enforced, which is evident by the number of daily videos posted of college kids smoking joints. However, any extensive campaign will get reported and your account banned.
- Just like other social networks, Pinterest forbids imagery or text that promote drug use and the sales of drug-related products.
- There have been some rumors about Pinterest allowing the advertising of non-THC products, but this is still just speculation. The company hasn’t sounded off on these indications.
Use organic promotion to bypass restrictions
Just because you can’t be as explicit as possible about promoting your cannabis brand doesn’t mean you can’t advertise at all. The key is to establish a foolproof method of marketing your brand organically, without any aggressive campaigns. A key cog in this particular approach are your customers, as they can be the driving force of your brand voice.
- Increase your outreach on social media by optimizing every bit of your service and products. Satisfied customers are the best form of advertising, as their joy from your brand is legitimate. People will believe them as they post about your brand.
- Reward the most loyal customers by sending them gift boxes, free samples or other goodies. Discount codes are also a great incentive.
Even though restrictions are in place, you can focus on improving your reach. Almost every social media network has algorithms that favor content that results in higher engagement rates. This means you should only post the most engaging forms of content. This means no statuses, but instead – a myriad of videos.
Not being able to market in modern ways doesn’t mean you can’t employ the old-school ways. One of them includes approaching the customer first. Send people use Instagram or Twitter DMs and let them know what your brand is about and how they can use your services and products. This goes for both B2B and B2C marijuana social media advertising.
Have a chatbot on your website. Customers will be able to type out their questions and problems and be greeted by immediate responses. The answers can be automated or diverted to the right customer service sector.
Add a personality to your brand
Social media is a double-edged sword for all marijuana businesses. Due to the restrictions, everyone has to use the same loopholes to promote their products. This results in a large number of companies looking the same and saying the same things. Consumers prefer brands that are unique and stand out from the typical marijuana marketing methods.
Think about what can you do differently. How can you send the message and become memorable? Have a clearly defined branding plan, along with brand consistency in terms of logos, patterns, and packaging.
Let people know what you want to be associated with and show a little pizzazz while talking to people. Everyone loves a brand that seems down to Earth and “human.”