It is impossible for any business who is looking to be successful in 2018 to ignore the use of social media in their online marketing strategies. Just like in any other industry, businesses who sell medicinal or recreational marijuana, their products or equipment, can use social media platforms to help them to market themselves and engage with their potential customers.
Unfortunately, due to it only recently entering legally into the market, there are still a number of places where marketing for recreational or medical weed shops isn’t as easy as others. Whilst we are moving forward quickly in terms of legislation, the rules and regulations aren’t necessarily moving in line, at the same speed.
The fact that cannabis still has a Schedule 1 designation means that a lot of social media platforms are reluctant to give cannabis businesses free reign, but it is also important that you are as visible as possible and able to engage with your customers and potential customers.
Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for you Marijuana Marketing
Whether you have a medical weed shop, a recreational use dispensary, a smoking bar or even a cannabis accessories shop, you need to ensure that your marketing efforts are reaching the right people. It is therefore important to first identify who your target market is. Is it people with medical needs which can be helped by the benefits of cannabis? Weed enthusiasts who are planning a cannabis holiday? Or maybe people who use marijuana regularly to relax in an evening?
Once that you have identified who you are going to be marketing at, it is useful to find out what social media they are mostly using. This is where you should be concentrating your social media efforts at least at the beginning.
There are social media platforms which are used generally across the whole of society, and some which are more specific to people with certain interests and will be amazing for the marijuana marketing as well:
- Facebook – You can use Facebook almost as a mini version of your website, giving contact details, information about your business and enabling you to reach out to some of the 2.13 billion worldwide active Facebook users. However, Facebook must be shown to be kept well within the law and it is not uncommon for them to shut down pages which actively promote cannabis.
- Instagram – Instagram is a popular and a growing social media platform which works mainly on users (and businesses) posting images. It is excellent for branding as the visual impact for branding is absolutely central, but, in a similar way to Facebook, Instagram have been known to not be very supportive of (legal) cannabis businesses. However, be wary! Instagram is responsive to claims. Your enemies may report you and get your page shut down. Don’t spend too much time on this so long as cannabis is federally illegal.
- Twitter – You cannot talk about Facebook and Instagram without mentioning Twitter. Twitter allows you to send out short messages to your followers and is a good way to engage with them in short bursts. You can tell them your news, but also get their views and opinions.
One of the biggest problems for some cannabis consumers in using these popular social media is that often people will have family members, work colleagues or friends that they don’t necessarily want to know that they are using marijuana. This therefore could alienate a huge market.
There are some more specific social media platforms and forums which can help out with this, as well as not running the risk of being shut down.
- Duby – Duby is a social media platform which attempts to connect those in the cannabis community. You can share photos, texts or videos.
- WeedLife – Is similar to Facebook but it has a MySpace kind of feel to it. You can specify what kind of user you are – for example, you can say that you are business, or a cannabis lover. There are forums and users can set up groups for those who have common interests.
- Kalogia (see our Kalogia feature) – This is a similar social media platform to LinkedIn – it is less for marketing as such, but useful for networking and finding cannabis freelancers and employees
- 420 Magazine – This is a set of online forums for everything connected to both medical and recreational marijuana use. The site boasts over 183,000 members and over 2 million posts. There is a large medicinal marijuana section as well as forums related to a whole range of subjects including cultivation and drug testing.
When it comes to finding the right social media for your business, the most important thing is to find the platform which is being used mostly by your customers and target customers. By understanding what each social media platform does and how to use it will make your efforts more effective.