Growing your cannabis business on social networks may be tricky, but it’s more than doable if you get in the know on the channels to use and ways to approach them.
Even though the mainstream networks are extremely populated and influential, there are specialized cannabis platforms as an alternative, offering a less constrained and safer environment to gain traction for your business. Let’s talk about both.
Leveraging the Mainstream Platforms
The good news is that a trend of expansion is palpable in the industry, but don’t let all the hype and rising social acceptance fool you— cannabis is still illegal on a federal level, and your social media accounts on common platforms like Facebook and Instagram can easily be shut down overnight unless your content is strictly educational. Cannabis business’ accounts are regularly shut down due to violating the network’s guidelines.
That’s why it’s vital to develop a carefully thought-out strategy before you invest your valuable time and resources into growing your social media accounts for your cannabis brand.
The abovementioned educational practice has shown to be most sustainable in the long run, but sustainability is not the only reason to go for it, since this strategy mainly entails sharing valuable blog / thought leadership content on your social media.
This opens up an opportunity to build up an extensive knowledge base on your website, because, naturally, there is much less restriction on your website, and then share that content more subtly and implicitly on mainstream social media, only as a means of redirecting your audience to your website where you switch to the real deal.
Persisting in this strategy, if done right, not only makes your visitors more likely to convert by reducing the number of clicks because they’re already on your website but also helps you build trust and longer-lasting connections to your viewers.
Next to safely complying with the social networks’ policies, assuming this sort of a knowledge-hub position on your channels will boost your SEO rankings, helping you rack up more website visits as a direct result of search appearances.
So let’s sum it up in several rules:
- Don’t promote in your social media posts. This stands for your products and services. Don’t list your prices, and don’t even share your contact information if people can use it to purchase from you. Any of these might be recognized by the social network powerhouses as a violation of their guidelines, which they ruthlessly protect in accordance with the federal law.
- Aim for organic reach. Things like blog posts, podcasts. Videos, published on YouTube and shared on your social media channels. Facebook for example, won’t mind you sharing a YouTube video where you unbox your products, develop how-to’s or interview influencers. Video, podcast and blog ideas are virtually unlimited, yet you won’t endanger your page by posting them.
- Don’t advertise unless you are 100% sure you comply. Paid ads are an extremely slippery slope for cannabis businesses. There was a cannabis business that tried to promote a seminar, and their account was shut down without prior notice. Facebook’s point was that the seminar was promoting the use of cannabis, which violated their policies, even though there was no mention of cannabis in the ad itself, nor the landing page. If your ads don’t promote cannabis or cannabis products in any way and they’re strictly educational (including the image or video, the message, and the landing page that the ad leads to) or used only for advocacy, then you might have a chance to get your ads approved by social media sites.
- Go educational and play the long game. In the long run, earned media and meticulous, valuable content will get you better quality leads. Next to that, your resources will be better spent as the value of a blog post doesn’t diminish over time. Each blog post is an asset – you can turn it into a video and recycle it, and it will stay up there without the PPC and policy violation headaches, compared to paid ads.
10 Specialized Cannabis Social Platforms
If you haven’t tried any of them out yet, there are some neat treats you’ll find in this mystery box, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, either. Some of the cannabis social networks are extremely cool and useful while some just aren’t.
However, whether you’re looking to network with like-minded people and business owners individually or market your business, you’ll definitely want to check out these 10. One (or a few) of them might prove valuable to you, and in the end it comes down to personal preferences, too. So let’s get to it.
A newer platform, dubbed The LinkedIn of Cannabis, Leafwire features thousands of professionals and businesses from the industry, quickly but surely positioning itself as a must-have asset in the business for the immense possibilities it offers when it comes to finding funding, partners and employees.
Representing yourself and your business on Leafwire will mainly enable you to connect with your industry peers and establish credibility in the community. You can then leverage that credibility to grow your business and generate new opportunities.
It’s definitely an industry-building engine, the impact of which is only yet to be recognized as the effects of newly founded partnerships and discoveries come into place.
One of the larger cannabis networks, CannaSOS assumes more of a global outlook. In addition to posting pics, videos and blogs, with CannaSOS you’ll get access to a diverse source of information – from strains databases, to legalization talks and news, making it absolutely perfect for lead generation due to the sheer numbers, dedication and curiosity of its millions of users.
They vouch for freedom of communication through blog posts, groups, videos, reviews, and much more and encourage cannabis businesses and users to share, connect and grow together.
Another one of the larger cannabis networks, WeedCircles enables you to connect with thousands of entrepreneurs and start sharing your pictures, videos, events, special offers, knowledge and Cannabis and Hemp posts with customers, colleagues and vendors.
Started by Social Life, owner and operator of WeedLife Networks and one of the leading B2B, B2C, and C2C technology platforms for the legal cannabis and hemp industry, WeedCircles even lets you create special cannabis landing pages to more freely and efficiently market your business.
It’s a sort of mixture between what Google Plus used to be, and what LinkedIn is today, but combined with some aspects of Facebook Pages, the growing of which earns you free banner ads across the entire WeedLife networks.
Definitely smooth, and even more so, worth figuring out and establishing a presence for your business.
4. MJ Link
As yet another cannabis social network and directory with a newer air date, MJ Link stands out for its $1.7 M funding that it received from Seed Round which enables them to keep powering their inviting project.
It’s certainly a milestone to add your cannabis business to MJ Link, connect with other cannabis entrepreneurs, and get access to weed-friendly news, friends’ activity feeds, products, and videos.
But the fact that MJ Link is relatively new doesn’t imply a lack of experience – they also own a couple of similar sites like WeedLife and Hemp Talk.
Featuring a wide-ranging network of services, like accounting, banking, insurance, distribution, extraction and more, that tailor to the cannabis industry, MJ Link in combination with WeedLife is probably one of the most populated cannabis networks.
On Weedable, you can post cannabis content and interact with both businesses and individuals. One of the best features of Weedable is the store, which enables you to sell directly on the platform.
With an active community from all around the world, Weedable enables users to browse and shop without leaving the website.
Best of all, they finally released an app for both iOS and Androidthat just takes the entire thing to a whole new level.
A mobile app, Duby is an unlikely mixture of Instagram, Twitter and Tinder, which unsurprisingly works perfectly for cannabis users.
The app is still not brought to perfection so there’s room for improvement but it’s a very interesting concept – you can view videos, stamp hashtags, publish Stories just like you do on Instagram, market yourself and promote your brand.
7. Grow Diaries
Meant for cannabis growers specifically, Grow Diaries lets users compare their yields to those of others and keep track of growth cycles.
Perfect for novice entrepreneurs and growers, any questions you pose on there will be answered in detail by experienced growers within hours.
8. Cannabis Pros
Here you can post jobs, updates and interact with your audience, share and build lasting and successful business relationships with dedicated people. An up and coming platform, Cannabis Pros is surely a platform where you’ll want to establish your presence on time, and let your business and connections grow with the community.
9. Grasscity Forum
One of the oldest end-to-end cannabis forums, Grasscity is a reliable source of information and one of the most credible platforms out there, the community of which counts many mutually helping and knowledgeable individuals and businesses.
They have a news section and an extensive directory of dispensaries across the US.
Obviously, Reddit isn’t solely a cannabis social platform, but it’s huge, credible and free. It doesn’t restrict cannabis talk in any way and there are some fantastic cannabis subreddits you’ll definitely want to check out, starting from r/trees, over r/cannabis and r/weed, to r/cannabiscultivation.
Reddit is known to have a vast and active community, and because of this, Reddit marketing is actually a thing. The point of Reddit marketing is to be an active member, start interesting threads and take part in interesting conversations without explicitly marketing your business – similar to blogging. In time, as you build up activity and credibility on your account, users will develop an interest and check out your business on their own.
Now Just Keep Rolling With It
Consistency is key. Stay active, share valuable content, don’t push your cannabis products or services in any way and praise organic growth.
Patience, hard work, and value are the three things to aim for, and you’ll be good.
If you develop any doubts as you grow your channels or encounter any issues with the mainstream networks, don’t let your spirits fall – remember that because the industry is new and there are many mountains to climb, the cannabis community relies heavily on platforms and strategies like these to connect, survive and thrive.