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9 Ways Your Dispensary Can Go Viral on Social Media

by Hasum | | 420 Smoke Shop Near Me | 0 Comments

Weed ‘Stigma’ on Social Media

Social media is the buzzing frontier in marketing. All businesses look to have a social media presence because that’s where customers are nowadays. Unlike other industries, cannabis hasn’t yet fully harnessed the potential of social media marketing.

Cannabis brands face an uphill battle walking a fine line of ‘community guidelines’ imposed by social media giants. Dispensaries cannot openly advertise cannabis on social media platforms. Such strict regulations have had a stranglehold on dispensaries, restricting their reach in the social media space.

Cannabis brands hope to steer clear of the feared ‘shadowban.’ This refers to when social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram restrict your posts and those of your followers via algorithms. Shadowbanning considerably limits your page’s visibility to new followers.

With such ‘stigma,’ cannabis brands need to develop creative workarounds to carry out effective social media campaigns.

Good Social Media Practice

Good Social Media Practice

The first step toward marketing success is to make sure you adopt fundamentally sound social media practices. You might think that your status as a cannabis dispensary is the sole reason for your lack of social media traction. However, perhaps your social media accounts are not quite engaging to potential followers.

Here are some basics that you shouldn’t ignore:

Engage, Engage, Engage

Engagement is two-way traffic. You listen to what your followers want and then deliver the content they like. It’s all about connecting with your audience.

Most cannabis brands spend too much time thinking about what they should say to their followers. Instead, they should ask. Reaching out to your followers is a great way of finding out what they want to hear and most likely engage with. Ways to connect with your followers include:

  • Asking them about their existing thoughts right now.
  • Asking them what they would wish to see in your dispensary.
  • Quick response to their comments and direct messages.
  • Hosting a Facebook or Instagram live to show them around your dispensary.
  • Also, consider having a question & answer session on your dispensary and available products.

These are simple yet effective ways to connect with your followers. In turn, they will feel at home with your dispensary, which will translate into active engagement.

Legitimize Your Presence

What do you want your social media followers to see and read when they visit your social media pages? Your bio represents the first point of contact visitors have when they land on your page. So make it stand out. It should follow your chosen brand voice.

More importantly, do not mention the name weed, marijuana, cannabis, or any other variation of the name in your bio. Also, don’t post any photos of marijuana flowers or products. This will be flagged by the social media algorithms and have your page deleted.

Additionally, be careful about marketing to potential followers who are too young when on social media. So your bio should indicate that the target audience for your content is persons above 21 years of age. This is also part of adhering to the cannabis social media community guidelines.

Post Fun and Educational Content

Post Fun and Educational Content

Are your tweets, posts, and status updates worth sharing by your followers? You have to think beyond just posting about your dispensary and the products stocked on the shelves. Create engaging content if you want more people to visit your page.

It’s good to talk about your dispensary or products in your handles. But besides that, offer your followers educational content. Cannabis enthusiasts are always eager to grasp information about the type of weed they are buying and what sort of effects they’ll experience.

The cannabis industry is coming from a backdrop of stigma and misinformation. That means dispensaries have a responsibility to correct the many misconceptions about marijuana floating around.

Facebook and Instagram have a soft spot for educational content. Tell your followers about the types of cannabis strains you have, the laboratory third-party testing process, the effects, as well as legality. You can also educate them on different delivery methods such as vaping, edibles, sublingual, and topicals.

By posting educational content, you become more of an industry expert in the eyes of the consumer. Wondering how to create educational cannabis content? Read on.

  • Write blogs on interesting topics about cannabis. It could read something like ‘why sublingual delivery method provides faster pain relief.
  • Record your budtender in a video explaining how to make a ‘wake and bake’ edible, or have them conduct a Q&A for your audience.
  • Consider creating a weekly podcast where you can speak on emerging issues in the cannabis industry.
  • Create content highlighting your dispensary’s story so that followers can connect with you.

Post Content Regularly

You don’t want to be posting after every few months. Your subscribers will be long gone if you don’t post new content regularly. Followers always want to consume new content regularly. Otherwise, they will go look elsewhere.

So, your social media content strategy should include a posting frequency, say daily, weekly, or monthly. This will help keep your followers engaged.

No Selling

You should post social media content without selling or promoting cannabis. You can’t list product prices. This could be the difference between a viral social media page and a flagged or deleted account. Instagram, for instance, explicitly states that any attempt to sell drugs on the platform contravenes the site’s guidelines.

Yes, cannabis is growing in popularity amongst a wide range of users. However, it’s still classified as a schedule-1 drug as per federal law. Thus, you can’t even put a link to your dispensary’s inventory page on your social media page.

Product photos are also blacklisted. Instead, you can post photos of your events, customers, dispensary, and your budtenders. Moreover, make sure the caption accompanying the photos doesn’t refer to anything about marijuana, cannabis, or weed.

No Selling

Look for Social Media Attention

None of the abovementioned social media best practices will matter if you don’t make your social media account visible out there and earn attention.

Here are ways to achieve better visibility and more attention:

Engage With Social Trends

Engaging with social media trends is the current buzz on social media. You have to join in these conversations because this is where your potential customers are. The trick is to translate the social trend into cannabis in a clever way.

Of course, don’t make the mistake of adding a picture of cannabis as part of the conversation. This will have your account flagged down. Weigh in with your opinion or advice on the trending topic. This allows your content to be visible to thousands of users. Ultimately, your content is likely to go viral if you appear intelligent or funny in these trending conversations.

You never know what might go viral. So you can use trending songs, GIFs, or audio clips from movies or television as part of your content. By doing it well and in a timely fashion, such types of posts can skyrocket your online reach.

Hashtag Responsibly

As opposed to other industries, the weed industry can’t employ hashtags to locate its community. So, you have to be overly cautious with phrasing your hashtags. If you tried to use obvious hashtags like #cannabiscommunity, #cannabis, #weed, chances are your account will be shadowbanned by the watchful social media admins.

The way around this is to use a sequence of pseudonyms on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to avoid a shadowban. Here are a few examples:

  • C*nnabis instead of cannabis
  • St0ner instead of stoner
  • W33d in place of weed

Of course, it’s hard work, but it is effective. Plenty of cannabis brands can engage with hundreds of thousands of Instagram or TikTok users, despite strict prohibitions. TikTok is the new platform on which you can gain social traction. In fact, there is a huge number of cannabis accounts performing well on TikTok today.

Share Your Brand’s Unique Selling Points

There are many cannabis dispensaries out there. So, what makes your dispensary stand out from the crowd? Simple and unique is what goes viral on social media. Step back and think about:

  • What unique products do you have stocked on your retail shelves?
  • What unique story might your audience drool over?
  • What environments, quality standards, packaging, or experiences can you share online which make your brand unique?

Do you have any specific product brands currently occupying your dispensary shelves? Well, contact them and have them mention you on their social media platforms. Likewise, you can also promote their respective brands on your pages. This way, both parties can feed off each other’s audience traction. It’s an innovative way to attract a new target audience.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing

Nowadays, there are people with a huge following who throw their weight behind the cannabis movement. An impressive 92 percent of customers believe in recommendations from family and friends instead of advertisements. In the cannabis sphere, word of mouth and inside knowledge carry significant value and influence.

Cannabis influencer marketing really works. This is because the influencers, whether brands or people with a large social following, are seen as more like family and friends than advertisers. So their opinions, backing, and buying decisions ignite that important inspirational thirst in their audiences.

Connect with a well-known cannabis influencer. Have them visit your dispensary. Afford them a full-on experience. When they post this type of content on their pages, you can be sure to gain greater visibility among a larger audience. According to industry estimates, brands will benefit from 16x increased engagement on social media platforms, thanks to influencer marketing.

Weed influencers also have another advantage. Unlike cannabis entrepreneurs, they are not restricted by the strict regulations on marijuana advertising. So, they can do or say things that cannabis entrepreneurs may not do.

A well-run weed influencer marketing campaign can produce excellent outcomes. Your responsibility as a dispensary owner, of course, is sourcing for the money and picking high-quality influencers to work with.

Loyalty Programs

You want to attract new customers and retain your existing followers. Loyalty programs can help you achieve this win-win situation. When your customers enroll for a newsletter, you can offer samples, free delivery, or even a dispensary experience.

Alternatively, you can have an online session for quickfire questions and answers for your customers. Prizes may include free delivery samples. This way, customers are inclined to make product purchases from your dispensary because you’ve shown that you care about them.

The Bottom Line

It’s an open secret that cannabis faces stigma on social media. This is because cannabis is classified as an illegal substance under federal law. Thus, cannabis brands face strict restrictions when advertising on social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. However, the greater the challenge, the greater the reward.

If you adhere to the useful tips stated above, you’ll avoid the threat of having your cannabis social media account shadowbanned. You’ll also stand a better chance of gaining social media traction despite the tough regulations. What’s more, you’ll connect and engage with your customers, in turn creating customer loyalty.

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