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4 Ways to Combat Bad Press

4 Ways to Combat Bad Press

When it comes to cannabis, there is a fair amount of bad press out there.  As a highly-stigmatized industry, it seems that everyone and their mother has an opinion on the legalities of marijuana and how people should be allowed to consume, or if they should be able to consume at all.  Supporters of marijuana are hyper-aware of the wonderful qualities of this plant, both medicinal and recreational.  But if you’re on the other side of the fence, how would you be able to feel the sense of community that exists?  How do those who have never consumed cannabis become supporters of your brand?  Can we help turn naysayers into moderate supporters by our own actions?

I was reading an article this morning (check it out here) about the aftermath of the Denver 4/20 celebration in 2017.  Organizers have received a 3-year ban due to noise complaints, untimely trash removal, limited security, street closures, and unlicensed food vendors.  Although the attorney for the rally is working on appealing the ban, this event’s aftermath results in more bad press for our industry.  There are always rowdy fans at events, whether it’s concerts or sporting events or political rallies.  So why does the cannabis industry seem like an easier target than most?

In looking over the history of cannabis and how people have used this plant for thousands of years, it seems the first time it became illegal was after it was introduced in the United States, around 100 years ago.  The Marihuana Tax Act was a federal law that banned marijuana use and sales in 1937.  Since then, government agencies have worked hard to limit and criminalize the consumption and distribution of marijuana.  This doesn’t make for good PR, even with the recent leaps and bounds in the opposite direction.  With as much history as we have in treating marijuana as a criminal drug, people hold views that are not easily swayed.  We have been told for years that marijuana is a gateway drug, that it will land you in jail, that only people with no drive or ambition partake.  We in the industry know that of course this is nonsense.  But then events like the Denver 4/20 rally come along, and bad press prevails.  There are the tiniest positive blurbs online about how some of the rally’s’ proceeds went to feed the homeless, or how the park was cleaned after the event to be even cleaner than before, or how the rally is an exercise in free and peaceful speech.  In order to change the norm and destigmatize cannabis, we need these types of events to continue, while finding creative ways to combat the bad press that always seems to follow.

As a dispensary owner, you may think that you don’t have the time or the resources to make a difference in the eyes of others.  You may have enough customers and enough support to not really care about if one rally goes awry.  But the fact is that all of us collectively represent the cannabis community.  And it is easier than you’d think to make a positive impact for both your brand, and for the movement.  Here are just a few ways…

Get involved in your community!  Summertime is a prime opportunity to get outside and do some good.  Search the interwebs for volunteer events in your area, and recruit your team to participate.  Take pictures, share your experience on social media and your website, and treat it as not only a way to give back to the community you serve, but also a valuable team-building event.  The point is not to flaunt that you volunteer within the community; it’s to make your brand known and seen to those who live in your community.  Choose a different activity every quarter, and put some great press out there for your dispensary.

Donate!  We are all passionate about something that has nothing to do with money or sales or success.  What touches your heart?  What is your team passionate about?  Choose a charity to support and pledge to donate a portion of your sales to that cause.  Ask your customers to help you reach your monetary goal, and post on social media often to keep people engaged and excited about the cause.  Supporting a charity outside of your business is a great way to foster goodwill and create a more positive brand image for your business, and the cannabis industry in general.  Plus, it feels good!

Throw a party!  By throwing a shindig and inviting your customers and their families, you are opening the door to your inside world.  Of course, your budtenders are friendly and your customers are treated well.  But what else keeps them coming back?  Pricing and atmosphere alone may not keep them interested forever.  Organizing something as simple as a barbecue allows you to interact with your clients outside of the sales transaction, which is invaluable.  People support brands that they feel a connection with, and a fun human interaction goes farther than a coupon ever will.  Create a real bond with your clients, and have fun at the same time!

Educate!  People have a tendency to fear or reject what they don’t know.  Cannabis can be scary if all someone hears about is negative.  So be there for your clients.  Educate them about how to consume safely, what to expect, and rules people need to follow to consume responsibly and within the law.  Create informational videos for your clients to learn on their own.  Answer questions on social media, and start a blog to spread the wealth of knowledge you and your staff possess.  Education creates understanding and appreciation for the brand and the product.

Can you imagine if every dispensary actively supported their community, and took some steps to be seen in the mainstream as a positive influence?  How would the views of cannabis change?

When you’re ready to start your own campaign in your community, we can help!  Our team is passionate about the cannabis community, and we are ready to help you make change.  Grow with us!

Hashtag Strategy for Canna Marketing

Hashtag Strategy for Canna Marketing

Social media marketing should be a social experience.  It’s a great opportunity to grow your brand, get your product noticed, and connect with your loyal fan base.  Content is King, and utilizing popular and relevant hashtags can help every post you publish reach an even bigger audience.  Hashtags are those pound (#) symbols listed in or after social media posts.  Some find them annoying, I find them useful and fun!

A little history about the hashtag:

  • Hashtags first became popular on Twitter, although they are used on many social media platforms today.
  • Chris Messina is credited with the idea for using hashtags to group people together in 2007.
  • You may also hear hashtags being called metadata tags.
  • Hashtags can be used to expand your content reach, as well as group like-minded fans together.
  • Hashtags help you target your intended market.
  • Your content can be found more easily by using branded hashtags.
  • Hashtags can help improve SEO while building your cannabis brand.

 

You can develop a hashtag strategy a few different ways:

Brand and Campaign Specific

Brand and Campaign Specific hashtags are those that you would use to establish and differentiate your brand or specific campaign that you might be running.  Hashtags that you create for your own business could be your company name, your company tagline, an event name, or even a response hashtag.  It’s a good idea to search Google first to ensure that your company hashtag is unique to your business or campaign; this ensures all your hash tagged posts are being grouped appropriately.  It would defeat the purpose to utilize a hashtag that directs fans to another company or direction, so a little bit of research goes a long way.  Keep your hashtags short, about 2-3 words, and remember that it’s not necessary to use a lot of different hashtags in every post.  Again, content is everything, and it’s always better to have one engaging hashtag that people will use, as opposed to eight hashtags that no one will care about.

Hashtags help to connect a group of people who share similar ideas and feelings.  This allows you to correspond directly with people you’d like to chat with, while connecting others with similar likes.  If you’re responding to people using a specific hashtag, it can expand your reach even further.

Trending Topics

Trending topics are a surefire way to get more traction on hashtags that you use for your cannabis brand.  You can find trending topics by searching Google or Twitter for something as simple as your desired keyword with the “#” symbol to find popular topics that people are already talking about.  It’s important to remember that trending hashtags change often, so checking trends on a regular basis is necessary.  While using trending hashtags, only use those that relate to your brand and/or your content.  Spamming hashtags to try and gain a larger audience is frowned upon.  You can also use Hashtags.org (free), or Trendsmap.com (monthly charge) for more drilled-down research and utilization.

Content Specific

Content hashtags simply relate to each post’s content, and can help improve the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your posts.  Content hashtags help you to find updates seen by people searching for your hashtag.  These might relate to your product, the cannabis lifestyle, an upcoming event, or your specific location.  By engaging with people who are using similar hashtags (meaning liking, retweeting, and commenting), you can create Human-2-Human interaction and help strengthen your content hashtags.

 

The background piece of using hashtags effectively is to look at which posts and which hashtags are performing well on your pages.  One hashtag will not work for every dispensary or cannabis product, and you may see different engagement with your hashtags on different posts.  Using various campaigns and hashtags, then analyzing the results of each, will help you to determine which hashtags are worth repeating.

Send us your feedback and success stories on your social media platform of choice using #HappyHashtagging!

 

 

 

5 Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience Using Social Media

5 Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience Using Social Media

“The customer’s perception is your reality.” (Kate Zabriskie)

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” (Bill Gates)

“Kindness and courtesy are at the root of a positive customer service experience.” (Shep Hyken)

These three quotes simply scratch the surface of what customer service means to the success of any business.  Customers drive everything, from reviews to social proof to sales to success.  And while it would be utterly fantastic to have only 5-star reviews, and only happy customers, that is not always the reality.  This is why any business owner works hard to make sure every customer is happy, every time.

Think about the avenues in which you allow your customers to communicate with you when they have an issue.  Do they speak to the budtender and hope that there is a manager available?  Do they call or email your dispensary incessantly until they get in touch with you?  Do they write reviews on Google and Yelp that slam your business to the world?  Some of these avenues don’t give you the chance to address your customer’s problem in a manner that reflects your customer service style, which is where social media can come into play.

Using social media as an additional outlet for any unhappy client may seem counter-intuitive…Why would you want to provide yet another avenue for unhappy customers to voice their opinions?  There are several reasons that we will quickly cover: First, in our digital age, people have come to expect immediacy.  Social media is quickly becoming the ideal platform to voice concerns, post reviews, and have interactions with businesses both near and far.  Second, Millennials, (the largest demographic of consumers), don’t want to call and talk to you, sad as that may seem.  Millennials want to send you a note or an email and be answered quickly.  Third, by answering a client’s concerns for all to see on social media, you have the golden opportunity to showcase your customer service skills while turning unhappy customers into loyal advocates for your cannabis brand.

People do business with those they know, like, and trust.  Providing customer service on social media creates the impression that you are on standby; ready and willing to take on your customer’s concerns and make the situation better.  You can show that you are willing to go above and beyond, that you are human and sometimes make mistakes, and that you are there for your customers even after the sale has completed.  Even if your disgruntled client doesn’t notice, everyone else who visits your site will see the interaction.  It’s a prime opportunity to gain new clients by showing that you are someone worth doing business with!

Here are 5 tips so that you can effectively manage customer service via social media:

  1. Create a Twitter account specifically for customer service. If a customer reaches out for assistance on your main Twitter profile, respond and let them know your customer service department (@YourCustomerServiceTwitterHandle) will contact them.  Then, your customer service Twitter department can message the customer directly to help resolve any issue or answer questions.  This helps your timeline stay on focus (the focus being how great your cannabis brand is), and shows others that you are willing and ready to help.
  2. Reply to all reviews, both good and bad. Responding to good reviews is easy, so don’t ignore your 5-star brand ambassadors!  You want your happy customers to see that you appreciate their time and business, especially when they have taken the time to point out how great your product is.  On the other hand, negative reviews give you the opportunity to chat directly with a customer, apologize, and show them (and everyone else) that you are willing to help.  Bad reviews are my favorite, because they give you an inside peek into how your cannabis business may be able to improve.  A poor experience may be something you had simply overlooked, or an area where you can further train your staff.  Negative reviews also give you a chance to highlight the things that you are doing right.  Apologizing for the situation while adding in what you do well doesn’t negate the complaint, but helps other potential clients to see something more positive about your brand.
  3. Be as responsive as possible. Imagine starting a conversation with someone and they don’t answer until 24 hours later.  Annoying, right?  Make answering customer service concerns your top priority (or delegate the task to someone who will).  This shows again that you care and that you will go the extra mile.  Both huge bonuses in the eyes of your customers!
  4. Be friendly and courteous. The worst thing you can do while working with an unhappy customer is to get defensive.  Staying calm when you’ve poured your heart, soul, and energy into your cannabis brand is truly difficult when someone bashes it.  It may feel like a personal attack, but rest assured, it’s not.  The best thing to do is to take a breath, remain calm, respond politely, and remember that although your business is your livelihood, bad reviews sometimes happen. Your job is to make as many customers as possible happy; while trying to fix any issues that may arise.
  5. Include a greeting with the person’s name when possible. This helps to create that Human-2-Human interaction that your customers are looking for.  The name is also useful if there is ever a dispute in the future as to who you were conversing with.  #CYA

We hope these tips help you to thrive in the customer-service world of social media.  You can create a truly unique experience for your cannabis clients, while forming bonds with your fans that won’t be broken.

What and When to Post on Social Media

What and When to Post on Social Media

One of the concerns that I hear from cannabis business owners is that they don’t want to inundate their customers with too many posts on social media.  They don’t want to harass their fans, and feel that they may eventually lose their virtual support.  The good news is that there are hundreds and hundreds of posts waiting for your customers every single time they log onto Facebook or another social media channel.  This means the likelihood that they will see every single post that you publish is quite low, so as long as you are posting gorgeous, engaging content, you can feel free to post fairly often.  “Ideal” frequency is not cookie-cutter; it relates to your business, followers, and consistency of content.  When creating your social media plan, it’s important to form a schedule that can be maintained even during your busiest times of year.

The following guidelines can help you discover what type of cannabis content to post, and when the typical best times to post will be.  Since your business and mission is unique, use these as a starting point, and utilize your analytics on the backend to determine what your audience loves, and what times they are interacting with your posts.

FACEBOOK

  • Publish 3-5 times/week
  • Personal posts (what do you like to do in your free time?)
  • Posts about the cannabis community
  • Posts about your business/budtenders/new products
  • Testimonials/Reviews
  • As you grow, you can publish 2-3 times/day (if applicable)
  • Best days to post: Thursday-Sunday
  • Best times to post: 9am, 1pm, 3pm

INSTAGRAM

  • Publish 2 times/week
  • Posts that share something about you (video or image)
  • Inspirational/positivity quotes and sayings
  • As you grow, you can publish once or more each day (if applicable)
  • Best days to post: Monday & Thursday
  • Best times to post: 2am, 9am, 5pm

LINKEDIN

  • 1-2 times/week
  • Business-oriented pieces, what’s new
  • Sharing information from other cannabis pages
  • Mornings on the weekdays are best
  • Best days to post: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
  • Best times to post: 7am, 12pm, 5pm

PINTEREST

  • Create 5 boards that relate to your business and mission
  • Pin and share 5-15 pins per week to keep your board fresh
  • Share URL from blog to create custom pins
  • Create images to relate to custom content using Canva
  • Best days to post: Saturday & Sunday
  • Best times to post: 2pm, 9pm, 2am

GOOGLE+

  • Post 3 times/week
  • Promote products and budtender knowledge
  • Post how-to’s and tips (super valuable!)
  • Best days to post: Wednesday
  • Best times to post: 9am, 11am, 1pm

TWITTER

  • Post 7 times/week up to 5 times/day
  • Ask questions or take polls
  • Retweet content that relates to the cannabis industry
  • Best days to post: Wednesday
  • Best times to post: 12pm, 3pm

YOUTUBE

  • Publish videos 2 times/month
  • Awareness about the cannabis industry
  • How-to videos (these get great engagement!)
  • Build your community of loyal brand ambassadors
  • As you grow, publish more videos (as many as you are able to create and publish consistently)

 

Creating a calendar for your social media strategy is the best way to keep on track and remain focused.  Your calendar should include every social media platform, along with what you plan to post.  Creating your calendar should be your first step, before you begin posting and scheduling.  Proper planning creates consistency and excellent execution, which will lead to your continued success.

You can use a printed version or a digital spreadsheet, and if you’re working with a team, a shared file on Google will likely be your best bet.  A calendar makes sure everyone is on the same page and creates accountability (see the sample content calendar below as an example of a monthly plan).  Simply write in the channel and post description for each day.  I also like to color-code my calendars for each social media channel.  It looks a little nutty, but it works to keep me organized!

When you’re ready to take control of your social media presence and grow your brand, CMI is here to help.  We live in the digital space and know how to get your cannabis brand found!

Answering Reviews With Kindness

Answering Reviews With Kindness

We all know that when a customer has a “bad experience” they will tell nearly everyone they know.  But what about the countless great experiences you and your budtenders provide?  How can you continually compete with the expansive reaches of the internet, and show that you are the dispensary folks should be coming to?  A customer can provide rave reviews on countless websites; or they can slam your business all over the green Earth.

You might ask, “Who cares?”  One or two or six customers isn’t going to make or break you or your business.  The reason why you want to take notice is called Social Proof.

 

Social Proof is the psychological tendency we have as humans, and as consumers, to modify our behavior to match popular behavior.  Therefore, if Client A posts online that your customer service is terrible, Client B (and C, and D, and everyone else who reads the review), will either avoid your place of business completely or expect terrible customer service.  It doesn’t matter that Client B has no relationship with Client A.  Social proof helps to form their opinion of you and your business before they ever step in the door or pick up the phone. It’s the same reason we search Rotten Tomatoes for movie reviews, or ask Siri for the “best restaurants near me”.  We are making our decisions based on what others believe; what others have deemed as popular, successful, and worth our time and money.

Social Media is key to increase your positive footprint in the ever-expanding internet universe.  It can help provide a tangible glimpse into what can be improved upon.  You can connect with both your regular clients and naysayers to encourage them to visit you again and refer their friends.  It provides a free avenue to advertise upcoming events and make special announcements.  The more often you can support a positive image, the more important you become, and the more successful you will grow.

So how do you deal when someone leaves a review?  Once someone leaves a review, good or bad, your inclination may be to simply let it be.  After all, it’s already on the internet for everyone to see, what is your answer going to do?

There are several reasons to answer your reviews (especially the poor ones):

  • Saying “thank you” to someone who took time out of their day to leave you a great review is worth your time. This shows you appreciate their patronage and their time.
  • Responding to reviews further supports your presence as a real life human, and not just a brand and logo. People crave human-to-human interaction on social media.  They are voicing their opinion because they want to be heard, and they want to hear from you.
  • Reviews give you a chance to see what you’re doing well, and where you might be able to improve. This is basically free market research for your company!
  • Taking ownership and apologizing for a poor experience, even if it has you fuming, is the right thing to do. Nobody’s perfect, and a poor review should be taken with a grain of salt.  It’s difficult, but you can do this!
  • Future customers want to see that you respond to reviews and address situations that need to be taken care of. Seeing a seething review followed by a professional response from the owner is much more palatable than no response at all, or worse, a rude or defensive response.

The thing to remember is that you are in business only because of your customers.  Being genuine, and thanking them for their good experiences, goes a long way.  Remaining professional and courteous to the unhappy customers goes even farther.

  • Start by apologizing and taking ownership.
  • Acknowledge that they had an issue and you will do your best to correct it.
  • Thank them for taking the time to send their feedback.
  • Use the opportunity to point out something positive about your business.

Here are some platforms to start with…

By staying professional and redirecting your reviews to the many positive aspects of your business, negative reviews won’t make such a negative impact.  If you’re interested in outsourcing your review responses for consistency and peace of mind, talk to us!

Are You Blogging About Weed Yet?

Are You Blogging About Weed Yet?

Blogging can seem like a daunting task, especially of you don’t consider yourself to be a writer.  While you’re crazy busy running your dispensary, sitting down to write a blog post may seem like an impossible task.  The reasons to have a blog for your business are many: you can announce exciting news within your company, share knowledge about your products and services, and most importantly, establish yourself as THE expert in the cannabis field.  You can also break down your blog post to create other social media content, so one piece of work turns into many pieces of content.  If you’re looking for ways to start a blog and increase your following, read on!

Your first step is choosing a blogging platform.  There are free and paid options, with the biggest difference being that a paid site typically gives you the opportunity to use your custom domain.  I love custom domains because they further legitimize your brand, and help tie everything together.  While WordPress has been my go-to platform for my blog and my website, there are many other great blogging sites available!

Once you have chosen your blog platform and set up your site, content is the next important step.  Finding amazing content to share on your blog is simple once you have established your mission and values.  Everything that you post already reflects your business beliefs, and your blog is simply an extension of your online personality and brand.  Your blog shows why you are passionate about your business, and can help highlight your dispensary from your competitors.  Get inspired for your next post by checking out what is trending in your industry, and what people are already talking about.  Stumped?  Check out these tips to get your blog up and running with stellar content:

  • Use customer questions
    • If you are asking for questions on your social media sites, this is a great way to expand upon what people are already asking
    • You can use your social media pages or your competitors to see what customers want more information about
  • Read blogs and articles from the cannabis industry and your competitors
    • This may provide some additional insight into what clients are looking for
    • Other blogs can spark inspiration for your next topic
    • If you have different opinions than what you read on the internet, expand on that to differentiate yourself
  • Search for trending topics
    • Facebook and Twitter both plainly list trending topics
    • Use this data to inform your followers about what matters to them most
    • Check out websites like High Times and MassRoots on Facebook
  • Search through Quora
    • Quora is an online community for people to ask questions and get answers.
    • About 100 million monthly visitors visit Quora
    • You can search for topics relating to weed and see what people are asking

 

 

 

Blogging involves being engaged in the blogging community, just like other social media.  The more you engage with the cannabis community, the better likelihood that people will engage back.  Once you find your ideal topic, utilize these best practices to make your following grow.

  • 500-1,200 words per blog post is great for SEO
    • Blogs should be 500 words at a minimum.
    • Longer blogs have a better chance of ranking with Google.
    • Include images that relate to your topic.
  • Comment on popular blogs
    • Find popular blogs in your industry and start following them.
    • Reply to comments in another blog’s thread, providing your expertise (especially valuable for your budtenders to get involved).
  • Recognize someone else’s content
    • Link back to another blog if you are quoting their article or using statistics.
    • Engaging helps to foster goodwill.
    • Helps SEO.
  • Allow comments on your blog
    • Invites visitors to engage.
    • Gives you valuable feedback and the opportunity to answer questions.
  • Proof your post
    • Since blogging is intended to establish yourself as the expert in your field, proofreading your articles is a must.
    • Take a break. After you write your blog post, take some time away and re-read it later to make any additional edits.
    • Reading your blog out loud helps you to hear the flow of your article.
    • Play with fonts, size, and graphics. Make your blog visually appealing for your audience.
  • Consistency is Key
    • Figure out how many quality blog posts you can create in one month, and stick to that schedule.
    • Release blogs on certain days to gain the most traffic and build anticipation.
  • Use Infographics
    • Infographics are easy to digest, which is great for millennial fans.
    • Create your own with Canva, or share another company’s infographic (use appropriate attribution and link back to their page).
  • Use keywords strategically in your heading and blog content.
  • Make sure your blog is mobile friendly!
    • People use their phones to digest much of what they see on the internet.
    • Check your blog posts to ensure they look great on your mobile device and your desktop.
  • Use numbers in your topic
3 Ways to Build Your Social Media Presence

3 Ways to Build Your Social Media Presence

Using social media for your business is completely different than using social media for your personal life, which is why it becomes so important to treat social media as a marketing tool.  There are proven ways to create a strong, cohesive presence on social media for your dispensary or cannabis product.  Here are just a few ways you can build your brand and create a loyal following…

 

 

  1. Find Organic Followers

Finding organic followers is still possible, even with Facebook Ads abound.

  • Look to your community events, national cannabis events that are trending, and friend’s posts that support your values and mission statement.
  • Run a contest with a giveaway.
  • Use beautiful imagery on every post.
  • Create 30-second videos to increase engagement.
  • Utilize Facebook Live, Facebook Stories, and Instagram Stories for short videos to connect with your audience.
  • Use “Call to Action” pieces to engage your audience.  Start a dialogue by asking a question, asking for a share, or asking folks to join a debate.
  • Invite your Facebook friends and contacts to like your business page.

 

  1. Engaging Your Audience

Social media is supposed to be just that: social.  I am a firm believer in what goes around comes around, and while you are hunting for likes and engagement on your page, it’s important to also give.  Spend a few minutes a day browsing through each social media channel to interact with the virtual world around you.

  • Find businesses that you currently support.  Like their pages as yourself, and like their pages as your business.
  • Browse through trending topics on Facebook and Twitter.  Join in the conversation on someone else’s page, and share the topic on your own pages.
  • Share another page’s content if it relates to your values and it relates to your followers.  Not every post has to relate directly to your business.  Instead, appeal to your followers by posting content that you and they care about.
  • Scroll through your Instagram feed.  Like and comment on posts that you love.
  • The MassRoots community is incredible responsive.  Post and comment to get to know your followers.
  • Follow back your Twitter followers.  Thank new followers for checking out your page, and remind them where else they can find you.
  • Expand your pages to be more than just ads.  Social media provides a valuable opportunity to communicate with your clients and engage with the cannabis community.

 

  1. Be a Real Human
  • Content is King.  Post stunning imagery and information that make your fans want to keep coming back to your page.
  • Consistency Creates Fans.  Create a schedule for each channel and stick to it!
  • Engage with Your Audience.  People do business with those they know, like, and trust.  Get to know your audience, and allow them to get to know you.  Support other businesses and share the pages that you love.
  • Stay True to Your Mission.  Create and share posts that reflect your true colors as a business and as a person.  This takes the guesswork out of content creation and what is appropriate to share.
  • Become the Expert.  Social media as a whole is designed to first connect with your fans, and second establish yourself as the expert in your field.  When people think of the best dispensary in town, will they think of you first?
Why is Guidance So Vague for Cannabis Marketing on Facebook?

Why is Guidance So Vague for Cannabis Marketing on Facebook?

This may be a bold statement, but nearly everyone uses Facebook.  Even if you don’t personally use a ton of social media, your customers do, with the average adult checking their Facebook page up to 15 times every day.  There is good reason to be involved on the social media site, but for cannabis owners, creating great content that relates to your brand becomes a little bit more challenging.

Contrary to what I have heard from many business owners, I believe that Facebook changes their algorithms often in order to serve you better, with the goal of creating a better overall user experience.  Algorithms decide who sees your posts, and who doesn’t.  There are ways to target your preferred page audience, and sometimes you even have the option to target a certain demographic for each post.  But when that is not an option, the algorithm takes charge and serves up your content to people who may or may not be your fans already, but who have interacted or liked similar content in the past.  Individuals also have the option to choose interests on their Facebook page, which further helps Facebook to serve them the content that they will care about the most.  The reason why this can be frustrating for cannabis business owners, is because you could have amazing content and not see a lot of engagement.  The best thing you can do is set your preferred page audience, target whenever possible your intended demographic, and use analytics to figure out what is working and what can be improved upon.

There’s come about a wonderful work-around to the organic Facebook that we have been accustomed to in the past.  Facebook Ads give you the opportunity to pay Facebook to serve up your content to more subscribers.  You have to spend money to make money, and the old way of doing Facebook simply does not achieve tangible results.  So, using Facebook Ads allows you to have your content seen by more people, while also encouraging a specific Call To Action that converts.

Facebook ads for the cannabis industry have to be designed differently than ads for a more “mainstream” businesses.  Because of Facebook Community Standards, drug content is not allowed.  So while you are managing your Facebook page and trying to get your cannabis brand out there to your many fans, you are at the same time running the risk of getting your page flagged for inappropriate content.  The Community Standards also make it more difficult to get your ads approved.  Facebook will typically ping your ad as unapproved content, even if you are not directly promoting the sale of cannabis.  We have reached out to Facebook multiple times for clarification on how to best advertise cannabis for our clients, especially after we discovered some promotional ads from a local dispensary, and this was our best response:

 

 

So what they are saying is that if they happen to not catch an ad that has drug content, they are relying on the Facebook community to find and report content that “shouldn’t” be allowed.  Some dispensaries choose to risk it, posting content how they feel, and publishing ads that could potentially shut down their page.  Our philosophy involves minimal guesswork and instead, we  learn the “rules” of Facebook so that we can effectively run your cannabis ads and posts WITHOUT the fear of getting your page flagged.

You can read more about Facebook’s Community Guidelines and prohibited Content here: https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/prohibited_content/drugs#

Creating Instagram Content for your Dispensary

Creating Instagram Content for your Dispensary

Instagram is not only an app filled with visual stories, it has become a valuable social media marketing tool for business.  Over 5 million businesses worldwide use Instagram for business, and with 400 million folks using this app every day, it’s an avenue that should be taken advantage of.

 

Reasons to use Instagram for business:

  • 80% of people who use Instagram follow a business on the app. This is your brand’s opportunity to be seen by the millions of people who use Instagram every month.
  • Create interest about your brand and your products. Visual posts give fans an interesting way to learn about you and what you are all about.  Short, sweet, and stunning is what Instagram is all about!
  • Build awareness about your mission. Especially in the cannabis industry, education is paramount.  People are yearning to learn about the industry, your values, and why they should do business with you.
  • Create H2H interaction. Human 2 Human (H2H) interaction is simplified on Instagram with the use of Stories and short videos.  You can foster a real connection with your fans by offering a sneak peek into your world or sharing something personal about yourself.
  • Get customers. Using paid ads on Instagram enables you to reach more potential customers, and having a specific call to action on your ad (buy, visit, download) converts at a higher percentage than organic posts.
  • Instagram offers support for businesses. Yes, you have to do a little bit of digging, and a little bit of reading if you’re managing your social media presence in-house.  But Instagram consistently provides up-to-date announcements, enhancements, and best practices to help you succeed.
  • Companies of any size can use Instagram. It doesn’t matter if you are big or small, just starting out or you’ve been in business for years.  Content is the only thing that matters when it comes to gaining a loyal following.

So how do I create great content for Instagram?

If the idea of creating stunning images at regular intervals makes you cringe, there a few really great apps out there that are terrific for creating Instagram content that converts (by conversions, I’m talking about likes, new followers, comments, and sales).

 

Canva is my absolute all-time most-favorite app for creating custom content.  You can access it on your desktop or mobile, and most of the content is absolutely free.  If you see a download that you just can’t live without, they only cost $1/each.  Every template if formatted for you, so you never have to guess about what pixel size an image for Instagram should be as opposed to an image for Twitter (yep, there’s a difference).

 

Adobe Spark is an app that you can download from the app store or access from your desktop.  You can create beautiful images and short videos using their free templates, which include customizable graphics and text.

 

Brandr allows you to upload your transparent logo and impress it onto your graphics.  So whether you have an original photo of your shop, or have created a motivational post, you can brand your image, effortlessly.

Follow us on social media for more tips and content creation inspiration for your dispensary and cannabis product!