It’s not enough just to show up anymore. You have to be social. Engage with followers directly. Ask them questions, respond promptly to positive and negative comments. Tag brands or retailers to extend reach.
Know your audience.
Curate posts that best resonate with your audience. Consider the nature of each post and be sure to include non-cannabis hashtags so your posts are discoverable by Instagram users who aren’t searching cannabis-specific content.
Don’t plan too far ahead.
Creating a monthly content calendar for “evergreen” posts will help maintain executional consistency. But be careful. Planning too far in advance for spontaneous posts can make you appear less than authentic.
Educate, educate, educate (repeat.)
In a formally black-market industry, customers are still wary of cannabis brands. Even if they are open to cannabis, they still are determining how to judge a great cannabis brand from its competitor, or even what qualities match their values.
Don’t rely on Instagram alone.
Engaging with customers through multiple social channels will improve SEO value. Platforms like Twitter, although a less popular cannabis social platform, connect cannabis to health and wellness, economics and politics, and science, and can help establish a brand as a thought leader.
Use influencers to expand social reach.
Select influencers who genuinely reflect your brand’s core values and have engaged audiences who will be receptive to cannabis marketing. Include non-cannabis influencers to connect with your customer’s other interests to bond new users to your brand. Don’t let influencers talk you into licensing deals that kill your margins.
Don’t get shut down.
Getting your account shut down can be costly and timely to repair. To avoid losing your account, don’t use advertising promotions or pricing on posts. Include disclaimers in your profile to spell out your intention: age 21+, compliant with regulations for medical and/or adult-use, no products or services for sale. Don’t post links to anyone who violates these rules.
Test. Measure. Adjust.
Set KPIs to measure the success of your social media strategy. Continually evaluate what types of posts receive the highest level of engagement. Test new content types and tweak your copy regularly based on these insights. Repeat indefinitely.
Measure engagement not followers.
In the end, vanity metrics such as followers don’t matter. What matters is how engaged they are with your brand. Review web traffic, profile views, and engagement metrics to truly understand if followers are engaged with your brand.
Get their noses out of their phones.
Don’t forget the ultimate goal is to get people off social media and onto your website or blog, at your event or conference, or in your retail environment to educate them further. You want them to learn more about you and eventually make a purchase.
Visit The Hybrid Creative’s blog for upcoming detailed content about these steps.
Zack Darling is chief eternal optimist (CEO) for The Hybrid Creative, a creative agency focused on cannabis, hemp, CBD, and hydroponics ventures. The agency is home to a wide variety of skills, with a primary focus on brand strategy, design, product packaging, web development, and marketing solutions. Aside from his award-winning professional endeavors, Darling is an active environmentalist, community activist, and event organizer.