The fact that CBD is such an expensive supplement to buy is a big part of what makes the CBD industry so attractive to entrepreneurs. One of the biggest reasons why CBD is so expensive, though, is because brands in the CBD industry shoulder an immense amount of risk when it comes to marketing themselves. Some entrepreneurs go through all the trouble of sourcing merchandise, designing labels and developing their websites, only to discover after the fact that most traditional forms of online marketing aren’t even available to CBD brands.
What can’t you do as a CBD brand in the United States? These are just a few of your challenges:
- You can’t market your brand on most mainstream ad networks like Google AdWords.
- You can’t market your brand by promoting content on social networks like Facebook.
- You can’t sell your products on Amazon.
- You can’t sell your products on eBay.
- You can’t use PayPal as a payment processor.
So, what can you do to market a CBD brand? For most companies in the CBD industry, marketing essentially comes down to SEO and doing everything possible to maximize organic search rankings. This article, though, will focus on another marketing channel that could prove just as valuable: social media. Here’s how to use social media for promoting your CBD brand.
Prioritize Product Quality First and Social Media Marketing Second
The most important thing to know about marketing a CBD brand on social media is that no amount of promotional wizardry can replace product quality and transparency. It’s well known that many CBD products have been tested and were found to contain significantly less CBD than advertised and, in some cases, no CBD at all. Product quality is a major issue in the CBD industry, and that’s why brands like Crescent Canna have gone through the expense of sending their products out for third-party testing and have published the lab reports online.
If your products have any quality issues, people will quickly find out – and no amount of spending will allow you to spin your way out of that. These days, consumers know that they need to research CBD brands carefully before buying. Make sure that you have your bases covered before you begin worrying about your marketing strategy.
Don’t Spend a Fortune on Influencer Marketing
When companies in any industry start to think about social media marketing, influencer marketing on Instagram is one of the first things that come to mind. You should think twice, though, before you budget a large amount of money for influencer marketing or make it the core of your CBD social media strategy. Research has shown that engagement with influencers’ content on social media is dropping and is likely to continue doing so – and the more followers an influencer has, the less likely people are to engage with that person’s content.
Consumers are increasingly growing wise to the complete inauthenticity of the average Instagram influencer. More than ever, people understand that influencers aren’t just regular people who happen to post great social media content; they’re entrepreneurs who want to earn money from paid endorsements and will happily promote just about anyone willing to pay their fees.
Don’t spend money on an endorsement from a social media personality unless you’re absolutely certain that the influencer in question is a good fit for your brand and that people will engage with the content.
Tailor the Message to the Platform
The worst thing that you can do when marketing a CBD brand – or any brand – on social media is to simply cross-post your blog content on every social media platform. If you’re not tailoring the message to the platform and the audience, it’s going to be ignored. If you don’t have the time to manage your company’s presence on multiple social networks simultaneously – and you can’t afford to pay someone to do that job – then you’re probably best off establishing the strongest presence possible on just one platform.
Remember that people expect to see different types of content on the different social networks. People on Twitter expect short-form content that they can digest quickly and share with their friends. People on Instagram expect to see engaging original photography. People on Facebook often look for interesting content that they can discuss with like-minded individuals. Remember that the message should always fit the platform.
Optimize Your Content for Searching
People find content on social media in different ways. What you’re hoping for is that your pages will gain followers who will then see your content organically in their feeds. In the best case, your followers will amplify your content by sharing it with family and friends. The reality, however, is that branded social media content rarely performs that well. On Facebook, for example, you can expect around one out of every 20 followers to see the content that you post.
The social networks are so full of commercial content that they want companies to pay if they’re really serious about maximizing their reach. As a CBD brand, though, you can’t pay to promote your content on social media. The only thing that you can do is make your content so engaging that people can’t help but share it with others.
There is another way, however, for people to find social media content – they can find it by searching for it. In that sense, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are basically their own search engines, and you can maximize the reach of your content by optimizing it for searching. If you have a take on a topic that’s trending within the CBD world, post it to capitalize on searches for that topic. Use hashtags to make your content easier to find – but limit them to a maximum of a few per post.
Don’t Make Medical Claims About CBD on Social Media
When you write social media content about your CBD brand, you need to be extremely careful about what you say and always strive to avoid saying anything that could be construed as a medical claim. Social media might be an informal platform compared to your own website, but authorities like the FDA will treat your messages as official regardless of where they appear. It isn’t a bad idea to have a compliance officer in your company and run your social media content through that person before it gets approved for publication.