Out of all the social media networks available, Instagram is the one that cannabis companies need to be focused on. It’s where the most users are and it’s the network that will allow you to use creative visual content to grab attention.
Traditional advertisements will not work, as you really cannot promote cannabis in a direct manner. You have to cleverly create a branding campaign that drives top of the line awareness that eventually translates into sales. Here’s what you need to focus on and leverage in order to see results.
Paid Ads Not an Option
It doesn’t matter if you have deep pockets – you’re not going to be running paid ads for a cannabis company, even if you’re Facebook (which owns Instagram), Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat – none of them allow it.
“Will they ever cave in? Sure, but not until it’s legal on the federal level in every state. The laws would need to be very clear and leave no doubt. Cannabis would have to be fully mainstream with no criminal charges tied to it in any capacity, says Justin Hamilton, co-founder of the Royal CBD website
Organic Content Can Work if Done Right
Instagram has the ability to put a cannabis brand in front of a large audience, but it’s going to have to be done in a way that is create and not direct, nor breaks any compliance related issues.
For example, you can’t just post pictures of cannabis or people using cannabis – that will get your account flagged and banned. But, a funny skit with the people wearing t-shirts with a cannabis company logo on them and tagging the company’s Instagram in the caption is fine and will get a lot of eyes on that company.
Influencers are the Key
Since you can’t run paid ads you need to leverage the power of influencers to put your Instagram profile in front of their followers. And you need to focus on influencers that are already connected to the cannabis space or are very vocal about their support.
Some will not touch it because it may ruin their other brand deals. Look for micro-influencers that are cannabis supporters. There is a good chance their followers are the exact demographics you want to come in contact with your company.
Be Aware of FTC Guidelines Regarding Sponsored Posts
Make sure that any posts that you compensate the person for, whether it’s product or monetary compensation, are tagged with #sponsored or #ad. The FTC is really cracking down, and they are going to be more critical of a cannabis ad over say one promoting athletic clothing.
It’s just the way it is. Anything cannabis related is going to be placed under a microscope, so be sure you are running a tight ship and comply with all rules and regulations.
While you cannot come out and directly advertise cannabis on Instagram, you can run some creative branding campaigns and use cannabis influencers to push move views and followers to your own account that you can then push to your website or listing on some of the major dispensary directories and delivery apps.
If you take on thing away from this, it needs to be this: creativity and uniqueness will help you stand out and draw attention.