By Lindsey Griffith
With over 1 billion active monthly users it’s no secret that photo-driven Instagram is one of the top places for your cannabis business to be. Like many other facets of the cannabis industry, you may find yourself running into a lot of roadblocks when trying to promote your business on social media. Whether you’ve already created an account or you’ve considered taking a deep dive into Instagram you may have questions on how to utilize this powerful marketing tool for your business. Here are some ways you can cultivate a killer cannabis Instagram strategy while abiding by current rules and regulations.
Pick a preset, and stick with it.
The first impression of your Instagram feed can make a major impact on how a potential customer views your business. Creating a feed that portrays a certain aesthetic is very important and sells consumers on your brand first, then your product. Picking a photo editing preset and using it for every photo posted creates a consistent brand “feel” in your feed. This, in turn, makes the feed appear more professional and well thought out when people are viewing the page at a glance. It may sound silly, but this will seriously affect how people perceive your cannabis brand image, even if they aren’t conscious of it themselves. Find that perfect preset and stick with it as if it were as strict as the cannabis regulations you are abiding by.
Post-high-quality content, not high quantity.
Instagram ranks content based on user engagement and will prioritize posts in news feeds from pages that consistently get the most likes, comments, and shares. The more you post a large quantity of cannabis content that isn’t engaging, the less your posts will appear at the top of the feed. So instead of posting a large quantity of content focus on posting the highest quality content that will garner the most likes and comments. Consider posing an engaging question about cannabis to your audience to start a conversation underneath your posts. This will only push you up in the Instagram algorithm and get your content seen by more of your followers.
Don’t get risky with ads.
It’s no secret that while recreational cannabis is legal in some states, the industry is still highly regulated throughout the United States. Because Instagram ads abide by federal law it is still forbidden to run any form of paid advertising on the platform for your business. Even if your proposed ad doesn’t include any cannabis or related verbiage, Instagram will still crawl associated landing pages and even your account as a whole for any marijuana, hemp, or CBD related keywords. A new technology introduced by Facebook has the ability to even detect the presence of cannabis in photos. Failing to abide by Instagram advertising policies could result in your account being shut down completely, so it isn’t worth taking any chances. Posting organically about it, however, is completely legal.
We know it can be nerve racking, but going live on Instagram is one of the highest forms of organic reach you can achieve on social media. You see, both Facebook and Instagram lives hit your audience three separate times. When the live begins through a notification, during, and when the live ends. Live’s also expose your content to your entire audience, not just those the algorithm deems worthy enough. Consider going live from a cannabis related event your apart of, or even from your grow facility. This approach is also more personal as well and allows you to connect with your audience. Consider starting off with an Instagram live once a quarter, eventually moving towards once a month.
Post in stories often, maybe even more than your feed.
Snapchat who? Instagram stories are used by 500 million users a day with over ⅓ of those story views coming from business accounts. Posting in your stories is an easy way to delight your audience with fresh, fun and engaging content. Repost interesting cannabis articles or let your followers know about the work you are doing in real time. Studies show that more users actually view their entire Instagram stories que than they do their actual news feed. So keeping content up in your stories will keep you top of mind with users who may not necessarily see, or engage with your content. Stories also allow you to experiment with different types of content that might not necessarily fit into your main account profile (remember when we were talking about that preset?)
Develop a content strategy.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. Creating an Instagram content strategy is essential to keeping your feed organized. Consider creating a content calendar and begin mapping out topic focuses for each month and further breaking it down by week. A cannabis event, grow strain spotlights and holidays are all possible topics you can curate content around. Having a plan and sticking to it will make your life much easier when posting. Also consistently posting around a specific topic helps sell the cannabis product or service by hitting the same audience multiple times. Want a template? We can give you one here.
Spread the love, seriously.
While it doesn’t have to be a direct competitor, supporting other cannabis-related pages not only helps their page but more often than not they’re willing to spread the love back! CBD, hemp and local cannabis partners are possible accounts to follow and repost content from, always giving credit to the original content creator. People love people who support each other, so consider giving some likes and follows to other cannabis connoisseurs. We promise it will help build a page following and user engagement. Spreading love in the most selfish way on Instagram? We aren’t opposed to it.
All in all, social media is one of today’s most powerful marketing tools. Instagram exposes your brand to millions of potential customers and it’s important to harness this tool as effectively as possible. Any missteps could give your brand image a bad name and potentially get your account shut down completely. So consider these ways to improve your Instagram marketing tactics for your cannabis business.
About the Author
Hello! My name is Lindsey Griffith and I’m the Creative Content Strategist for ThrivePOP located in West Michigan. We are a growth agency that specializes in web, marketing, and design for many industries including cannabis, optometry, and technology service. I have been curating content for our cannabis clients for some time now and I am excited to share my experience in this growing industry (no pun intended) with others!
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