We're about to enter into 2017 and social media and marketing have become the best way to market, engage, and educate your following. Now a days majority of the newer generation uses their cell phone to communicate, shop, and find out what's new and trending in the world around them. Think about it, there are many social media platforms that are free, have millions of users, and are capable of making your profile unique and about what you want to put out there so why not use it as a marketing avenue. There are many social media platforms out there as well, such as: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, Cannabis Capitol, Massroots, Social High, Toke With, and Periscope for example. How can these all pertain to the cannabis industry and brands though? Well lets look into them.
Facebook: This is a broad platform that offers many options and integrates very well with all other social media platforms. Essentially its like a mini website for an individual or company. You are able to post location, hours of operation, news updates, images, articles, and anything you think may be worthy for your audience to know.
Twitter: This app allows real time messaging with text, images, and video links. Unfortunatley you are only limited to 140 characters at a time. The user can share updates, deals, specials, and questions to your audience to se what gets the most attention via likes, reposts, and responses.
Instagram: This platform is more image and short video driven yet probably the most popular currently with over 300million users. You can share product pictures, pictures of your business, graphics, and any other images or videos that reflect your brand or business. There is also a newer app called Massroots which is similar to instagram but targeted directly to the cannabis industry.
Youtube: This is a video marketing platform. Good for product reviews, first impressions of products, and etc. Definitely a little more difficult to start up and use but if you can develop good and worthy content and gain a following or utilize YouTube channels that gain a lot of traction it's a good marketing tool.
Periscope: This is a live streaming app. You can record and post live videos and people from all around the world can view and watch what you're doing while interacting with you real time. Toke with is a similar app but geared specifically for the cannabis community to unite and bring stoners who want to smoke with each other and sesh but might be in another state or country.
Snapchat: This is a mobile messaging application used to share photos, videos, text, and drawings. It's free to download the app and free to send messages using it. It has become hugely popular in a very short space of time, especially with young people.
If your brand or business doesn't have the time to devote to social media consider hiring or appointing someone solely for this job. It's important to utilize social media platforms because its free marketing. Social media has become to #1 way to promote and advertise for a brand or company. Youtube has become the new TV, Facebook has become the new newspaper, Twitter has become a new form of the News, Instagram has taken over picture albums. As our society becomes technologically advanced we see a decrease in our old ways and an increase in new ways of life.
Adopt a voice that's human, professional, and reflects your business. Although many are tempted to use social media for your business just as you would for your personal page, keep in mind the tone you use for your brand and business adopts as a reflection. Stay professional because after all, this is your business and you want to make sure that you treat it as such. Try not to come off too casual or improper but still stay friendly. You also want to make sure you don't sound too robotic. Be genuine with your brand and keep positive, humorous, and friendly. Too serious or posting negative content will steer people away. When posting also refrain from using words like "we" and "I' because it tends to show it's coming from a person instead of from a brand.
Use content to entertain, engage, and educate. Content is king, what you post determines your audience. Refrain from posting blurry or bad photos, using improper grammar, or posting boring things. Put effort into your content because it goes a long way. Share content that makes your brand special and unique. You want to give people who stumble upon your page a good reason to start following you. Whether you may be sharing pictures of your product, writing informational articles, showing videos and pictures of your grow room, talking about the products your business carries, show that your brand has a lot to offer the user. Mix up your content to keep the audience interested and entertained. If you post 10 pictures of the same thing people tend to lose interest fast.
Engage with your audience. Comment back to them in a quick and timely manner. Like the posts they have put out, it will bring them to engage more on your page as well. The more a person sees your business name come up, the more likely they are to think positively about your brand and will be more likely to try your product or go to your business, and next thing you know you have a new customer. Engaging on social media will also help grow your page and attract more people to looking at your business page. Now this does take a little bit of time and effort but even spending 30mins to an hour everyday just to engage with other accounts helps a lot. Also be constant with your content. Posting at least once a day will be good for your engagement. When you stop posting for a couple days, people tend to loose interest in what you have to post, rather than if your posting new and constant content everyday. But also be careful not to over post. People tend to get annoyed as well when a page posts too many times a day. Choose quality over quantity. The more you put into your brand or business the more you will get out.
Use proper hash tags for message visibility. Hash tags are an amazing way to track social engagement across many platforms. A couple strategic hash tags placed in your captions or comments goes a long way. Research which hash tags work the best and are most used and incorporate them.
Partner and cross promote with brands and social media personalities. These can be paid or mutual trade. Using individuals with high social media followings to advertise can be a great revenue. This will gain more eyes on the brand or business as well as get more people to try the product or visit the business because they see someone with a high social presence doing it. For example if you see a TV show celebrity using a specific product, most are more willing to try it because they see someone famous and who has a good social status using it, so it must be good. With this technique it is important to use someone whose following works well in the industry. Getting someone to post your product who has a large following but their posts are mainly pictures of them working out or fitness related posts probably wont work as well as someone who has a large following who mainly posts pictures and videos of them using cannabis. You need to market to those who will bring you more business and who will be more interested in what your posting. The more specific you can get the better.
Data and analytics. Look at the metrics and analytics of your brand pages. This is determined not by how many followers or likes you get but the impressions, views and website clicks. There are many apps or websites you can use to see the analytics and metrics. Also with these you can see who your audience is, if its mainly male or female. You can also check the age ranges, or where most of your audience is from. This way you can market and target your audience better and know if what your doing is working.
Beware that some of these large social media sites remove pages for any promotion or sale of drug use, or advertising cannabis use. This is due to its placement as a Schedule 1 drug and still technically being federally illegal. Luckily there are now many social media platforms that are directed to cannabis related use and brands. As the industry grows it is all beginning to shift and marketing will slowly get better and people will be more comfortable with the cannabis industry.