Digital Marketing

Instagram Marketing Tactics for Cannabis Brands

by zkerr

instagram marketing for cannabis businesses

What exactly is Instagram marketing?

Instagram marketing is an overarching term that defines the constantly evolving strategies and tactics brands use to market themselves on Instagram. As you might expect in the cannabis industry, the Instagram marketing landscape looks a little different. 

Instagram Marketing Rules for Cannabis Companies

Instagram’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines are somewhat vague. In their guidelines, Instagram outlines “…buying or selling illegal or prescription drugs (even if legal in your region) is not allowed.” This means you will not be able to promote the sale of any cannabis products on your Instagram account.

Failure to comply with these terms will result in a warning from Instagram, or even worse – account termination without warning. (GASP!) Unfortunately, Instagram is notorious for banning cannabis-related accounts that reference the sale of cannabis.

There’s no real consistency or precedent

One of the most frustrating parts of social media advertising for cannabis companies is the complete lack of consistency on the social networks’ end. Instagram’s unclear and haphazard rules (just like Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of ’em) have resulted in some accounts being banned for the same type of content other accounts get away with. The rules are left up for interpretation and each case is subject to the person reviewing it.

4 of the best ways to avoid being banned on Instagram

Never mention sales or inventory on your Instagram. It is wise to add 18+ and *NOTHING FOR SALE* to your bio to avoid potential negative claims, but not all canna-businesses do this.

  1. Don’t use Instagram to sell your products
  2. Don’t reference your menu, prices, a sale, a discount, etc.
  3. Don’t show anything “for sale” in any way.
  4. Avoid posting any direct links to your products.

You will also want to avoid using stereotypical language on your page, and when interacting off of it. If you want your cannabis business to appear legitimate and be taken seriously, don’t discredit yourself with typical “stoner” culture language. Phrases like “getting high” or “ripping bong” and words like “doobie” or “pot” give your brand a youthful association. We’re not saying don’t show off your brand personality or add humor into your posting mix, just be careful of your word choice and be respectful of your viewers.

How Your Cannabis Brand Can Win on Instagram

Like any online brand, the key to success for your cannabis business is creating killer content. When you post content that resonates with your followers they are more likely to like, comment and share it, which will help you increase traffic to your page and overall visibility for your brand.

So how do you grow your following? First, identify your target audience. Understand your target audience’s likes, dislikes and general social media habits. These habits are key indicators that will help you position your brand’s message to be the most receptive within your target audience. Once you’ve determined who you’d like to reach, here are some suggestions for creating killer content.

8 best ways to succeed on Instagram

  1. Use video. Today’s social media platforms all favor videos or photos, and Instagram is no different. Instagram allows you to utilize videos in four different ways: (1) stories, (2) live videos, (3) IGTV and (4) video posts. Instagram is a visual platform, so use it to showcase the most visually appealing elements of your business.
  2. Show off your brand personality. With so many brands trying to fight for consumer attention, it’s important to stand out. Viewers crave the authentic, human-connection with their favorite brands. So whatever makes your cannabis brand, your cannabis brand: show it!
  3. Educate your followers. An easy way to generate content is to assume your viewers know nothing about cannabis. Creating educational content is a one of the best ways to position your brand as experts in your niche of the cannabis industry. A good example of this would be a video explaining the differences and advantages of sativa versus indica.
  4. Post often. You might be producing the best content on Instagram, but without quantity and consistency, your content won’t be found. According to several studies conducted over the last few years, it is recommended to post between 1-2x per day
  5. Use hashtags. Use Hashtagify to find, track and analyze hashtags that are the most beneficial for your canna-brand. Hashtags are a great way to place your posts in front of niche audiences because they are looking specifically for that #topic. Just be sure to change up your hashtags and never repeat hashtags in the same order from post-to-post – Instagram doesn’t like this.
  6. Use stories. Stories are great for engaging with your followers. You can set up polls to survey your followers, ask them questions related to your brand, tag other people, and best yet: the “swipe up,” which provides a launchpad to drive website traffic. Since stories are more commonly viewed than posts, people have tendencies to click through them. So be creative, come up with games or a stop-motion movie that viewers play or watch by tapping!
  7. Tag locations. Locations allow your cannabis business to focus on your local markets. As referenced above, knowing your audience will help you find what locations to tag in your posts and stories to see the best engagement rates by region. 
  8. Use professional equipment. By using professional-grade cameras, your photos will be of high quality. High-quality photos will help make your products more appealing and marketable and therefore provide more value to your brand. 

Improve Your Brand’s Appearance

The appearance of your Instagram page is everything. Everything on your profile should be detailed, carefully thought-out, and branded.

  • Are your logos, colors, and fonts consistent throughout your page?
  • Do you have a concise & friendly bio?
  • Do you have a patterned post layout or is it random?
  • Are you using story highlight covers? If so, are they on point with your brand?

Engage with people! It is social media…

As a result of Instagram’s advertising restrictions, engaging with other accounts is one of the most reliable ways to get your brand noticed. 

  • Respond to direct messages (DM’s) and comments timely and considerately
  • Shoutout your business partners, customers, and tag commonly visited locations

Another way to garner quality engagement is by using influencers. Influencers are individuals who have a loyal following and are trusted within a specific niche or industry. Learn more about how to leveraging influencer marketing for your cannabis brand.

Contact CannaPlanners Today!

It can be challenging to manage your Instagram and other social media channels by yourself. As we’ve outlined, there are many complexities that come along with growing a great Instagram account. Contact us today to discuss working with our social media experts.

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