Cannabis companies in the U.S. are dealing with a "sticky" legal situation when it comes to marketing themselves on social media.
While many states that have legalized recreational marijuana, on a federal level, cannabis is still a controlled substance. This has led to all sorts of problems,
Along with many companies choosing to list on foreign exchanges, such as the Toronto Stock Exchange, cannabis companies also face serious problems on the internet — particularly social media networks such as Facebook.
For U.S.-based companies, finding the right social media to help promote their cannabis business is extremely complicated. So, which social media networks are the best for cannabis companies looking to promote online?
Cannabis companies are working directly with social media influencers.
Online marketing is one of the most important areas for a business today. According to data from Fabit Technologies, around 57 percent of people are more likely to buy from a brand they’ve been exposed to on social media.
With more people using their smartphones and browsing apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, companies that can’t participate in this area are missing out, especially when it comes to products like cannabis, which appeal more to the younger generations.
Instagram is one frequent place that cannabis companies use. Additionally, corporations can work with social media influencers to market their products for them.
This type of approach has proven successful for a number of companies, including Canopy Growth (CGC), whose influencer partners include celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart.
You won't see any cannabis companies advertising on Facebook.
Over eight million businesses advertised themselves on Facebook during the first quarter of 2020. Unfortunately, cannabis companies aren’t on that list.
Facebook has taken a stance that any marketing of cannabis products or services, even those that are vaguely associated with marijuana, would not be allowed.
However, while advertising cannabis products on Facebook isn’t an option right now, companies can still create a Facebook group or page of themselves.
Additionally, there’s nothing wrong with posting informational content about the cannabis industry in general. That could include studies, statistics, news, etc. As long as it's informational rather than promoting a specific product, then Facebook would allow it. Regardless, most cannabis companies maintain an extremely tiny presence on Facebook.
Cannabis companies are using forums and apps instead.
With Facebook out of the way, cannabis companies have had a fair bit of success using Instagram. The target demographic for marijuana-related products tends to be the younger generations, which are more active on social media.
Considering Instagram also has a younger demographic than Facebook, on average, it’s a good place for cannabis companies to start. Instagram, being a picture-based platform, works especially well for new product lines, especially consumables.
Of course, there are non-social media options for online marketing as well. Various pro-cannabis forums, news aggregators, and websites are a good place for advertising as well.
There are forums such as Grasscity and WeedLife, which connect cannabis enthusiasts, as well as mobile apps like Weedable, where you can also shop products and follow your favorite brands. Leafwire is also an option for cannabis businesses looking to network and grow.
So, with or without Facebook, cannabis companies will find ways to market themselves to their consumers.