Since the legalization recreational use of cannabis last October, you might’ve been expecting an Oprah-esque social media marketing approach to follow shortly after.
“You get cannabis! Aaand you get cannabis! Everybody gets cannabis!!!”
It is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, and with all the money it’s racking in, it just seems like the natural progression. But apparently, as time would tell, that’s not exactly how things are going…
Quite the opposite.
Weed is legal in Canada. Promoting it is not.
If you think that now is the time to advertise your cannabis products online, it might be time to restructure your methods.
The block on advertising cannabis related items on social media is twofold: first, the federal government has given the idea its red stamp of disapproval, and second, the most visited social media networks in the world collectively say “no bueno!”
Under Cannabis Act it is “prohibited to promote cannabis or a cannabis accessory or any service related to cannabis,” and according to Facebook’s advertising policies, ads “must not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription or recreational drugs.”
Facebook’s advertising policies, ads “must not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription or recreational drugs.”
The other social media networks aren’t any better, either. Snapchat prohibits “ads that depict drug use,” LinkedIn’s policies state that “even if [it is] legal in the applicable jurisdiction,” it’s a “no” from them, and Instagram adheres to the same advertising guidelines as Facebook due to their acquisition in 2012.
Promoting to Cannabis Users
Even if you’re not marketing a product that has marijuana in it, there’s still a pretty significant stronghold on promoting to cannabis users.
Take our LIVLI daily supplements for cannabis users, for example. Our daily multivitamins are made of B-vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids and nootropic herbs. They contain no cannabis, THC, or CBD and are even approved by Health Canada. But because they are specifically marketed for those who consume weed, they’re treated all the same.
How to Successfully Promote Marijuana-related Items Organically on Social Media
To engage an audience without relying on advertising, cannabis companies will have to take the good ol’ grassroots approach to market their business. The only two things you’ll need is a little bit of elbow grease and a whole-lot of quality content.
Organic reach on social media has been on a steady decline in the last few years, but that doesn’t make it impossible to attract quality numbers. Here are some methods to employ:
- Influencer marketing – Partnering up with industry influencers is one way to inch around the strict advertising policies put in place. Teaming up with those who believe in your product and exemplify your brand can help you expand your organic reach through their audience. Lucky for us at LIVLI, we were able to partner up with those who engaged with us early on and we’re excited to talk about and try our product before it was even launched!
- Diversify – The more social media platforms you’re on, the more places for a potential audience to find you. That’s not to say that you should be found on every platform; don’t spread your efforts too thin and be strategic when choosing.
- Brand ambassadors – A little endorsement goes a long way. Having happy customers post to their social media about your brand will increase your potential reach. Word of mouth is a powerful tool in the world of marketing, and with social media, it’s even more so. This is generally an organic thing, but it never hurts to ask your customers to leave a review after trying your products.
The shifting cultural attitudes towards cannabis consumption is bound to loosen the uncompromising grip in the years to come. Until then, cannabis companies (and those outside of but still associated with the industry) will need to work a little harder and a little smarter for their green.