Best Practices: Cannabis Executives Share Social Media Advice
By: Julie Weed July 16, 2017
Federal law prohibits legal cannabis companies from writing off business expenses like advertising and rent, so entrepreneurs in the industry need to be frugal and effective with the money they spend. Here, CEOs and founders share their advice on using social media to reach customers, suppliers, investors and the press. Popular cannabis-focused Twitter accounts and Facebook groups boasting hundreds of thousands of followers show that social media is a target-rich environment for marijuana company messaging.
Krista Whitley, CEO of Social Media Unicorn, Cannabis marketing and sales agency based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Use diverse hashtags: since #cannabis and #marijuana are now filtered (blog post here) it is important to capture targeted audiences. Reach out to #wellness, #yoga, #health, and other categories of Twitter users who would be interested in MJ content. Post lots of original photos, videos, and gifs. Both the canna-curious and the enthusiasts want to know what happens behind the scenes. Visuals are an opportunity to both redefine the stoner stereotype and share the cultivation and production information that can build brand trust. Show appreciation: Thank consumers for their feedback (even when they are anti cannabis,) thank dispensaries for carrying the brand, thank advocates for their tenacious efforts for normalization.
Kristin Ehasz, VP Sales & Business Development of Cannavative, a Nevada based cultivation and extraction company. Make sure that you follow the guidelines of the platform you’re working with so that your account is not suspended or revoked. No consumption. No sales. And whenever possible, keep your content original and don’t overly repost.
Todd Denkin, President, COO of Digipath, Inc., an independent cannabis lab testing and media firm headquartered in Las Vegas, NV. Be honest with your audience. Good, bad or ugly, it has to be real. When you create an open, honest dialogue and interact and listen to your audience in the cannabis business, they will help brand your company for you.
Nial C. DeMena, CEO of Manna Molecular Science, a Massachusetts-based firm that develops and distributes cannabis delivery systems. Remember the first thing anyone does is Google you -- especially investors. From your website and social media sites (including LinkedIn), a person can read what colleagues, friends and even strangers say about you and your company, and you want them to have a favorable impression throughout.
Evan Marder, Chief Operating Officer of Matrix NV, LLC, Nevada-based Cannabis Flower and Infused Products Producer. From creating buzz over products that haven't even hit the shelves yet to maintaining a viable position in the marketplace, your social media presence is as important as any other aspect of your business. Make sure you advertise your social media accounts on all of the other ads you put out in magazines, billboards, flyers, etc.. Taking all of the regulations surrounding cannabis businesses into account, social media will be your best bet to advertise.
Roni Stetter, Founder of Righteous Relations, a San Diego-based public relations firm for the west coast cannabis industry. You will undoubtedly face opposition and dissent when you start posting about cannabis online, but you have to be ready to face that and counter it with truth, rather than hide away. You'll never reach influencer status if you've only got one toe dipped in the pool.
Catherine Goldberg, Founder of BrainBuzz, an LA based social media and content creation startup. Talk directly to your customers with comments, likes, and direct messages to make them feel good and build rapport. Be sure to focus on the experience rather than the product, it has more emotional weight and will increase brand awareness.