Marketing your cannabis website is no easy task. With the industry still being federally illegal, major online platforms still ban paid advertising for cannabis of any kind on them (i.e. Google, Facebook, Twitter). Facebook also owns Instagram which is why paid cannabis ads are not allowed there either.
However, there are still plenty of reasons to use Instagram to help boost your online exposure and help drive more traffic to your website.
Instagram’s Cannabis Rules
Let’s first look at the rules Instagram has around cannabis. Instagram’s Community Guidelines state, “Buying or selling firearms, alcohol, and tobacco products between private individuals, and buying or selling illegal or prescription drugs (even if legal in your region) is also not allowed.” This statement must be taken seriously. There have been many instances of users losing their accounts with thousands of followers because they didn’t follow the proper guidelines. Don’t let this be you.
Why Instagram is Good for Your Cannabis Brand
Instagram is used to post pictures and videos which means it’s a visual platform. Cannabis is a visual industry. Posting pictures of your beautiful bud, high-tech equipment, or unique storefront can go a long way toward getting people to notice you. It’s also a great place to tell your story and share what makes you different from other companies in the same space.
Not only is Instagram visually appealing, but it is also the second most popular social platform that exists (right behind Facebook). According to Hootsuite, there were 1.2 billion unique visitors active on Instagram in October of 2020 (with 9 out of 10 users following business accounts), so there are a ton of potential customers to be found on this platform.
Now let’s look at what you can do to boost your followers and create more brand awareness:
How You Can Build A Strong Account:
- Research and Use Hashtags – Hashtags are how people find content on Instagram and you can have up to 30 for a post. Be relevant and specific to each post. Don’t just use the same hashtags over and over again.
- Post Consistently – Ideally you would post something daily, but more importantly you should be consistent with your posting. You don’t want to flood your followers’ feeds with too many posts each day, but you should at least stay on their radar by posting thoughtful content at a steady rate.
- Engage with People – When followers engage with you, you should also engage with them in return. It’s also smart to highlight customers, vendors, and business partners. Be sure to tag them when you do. They’ll have a better chance of seeing the post and be more apt to share it with their followers as well.
- Videos, Videos, Videos – If a picture is worth a thousand words a video is worth far more. Image posts are still great, however, video posts tend to receive twice as much engagement as other types of content.
- Use IG Stories – Posting content to your Instagram Story is unique in the fact that it can only be seen by other users for 24 hours after the time you initially post it. Once you publish a post on your feed (which remains on your page until you archive or delete it), you can then also share that same post to your IG Story. This additional action will likely increase the number of followers that see your post as they tap through their followed accounts’ Stories each day.
- Influencer Marketing – Love them or hate them, Instagram influencers can drive traffic. Reach out to ones that are a good match with your brand and see if you can collaborate on a post together. Often enough, influencers will agree to post about your products or company in exchange for free samples or services.
- Use Scheduling Tools – Posting consistently can be tough and time-consuming. Use post-scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to help automate them. Simply build and schedule out your posts at the beginning of each week and never worry about forgetting to post again.
Tips to Avoid Your IG Page Being Taken Down
- Don’t try to sell anything – To drive this home even more you can add “Nothing for sale” in your bio.
- Avoid depicting cannabis consumption – There aren’t age gates on Instagram so anyone can come across your page. Showing consumption in your posts could draw more negative attention than you would probably want.
- Add an age requirement – Since there is no age gate, adding one shows you’re serious. Instagram recently started allowing cannabis companies to add one to their page.
- Be respectful and professional – Instagram can tend to be fairly arbitrary when deciding which accounts they want to shut down. Be thoughtful with the content you are posting and don’t provide them with any additional reasons to target your account.
Should your page (for whatever reason) be taken down, unfortunately, you cannot do much about it. You can, however, request a review of your account and hope that you can convince them to reinstate your page, but chances are it’s gone for good. The last thing you want is to gain thousands of followers only to have them taken away, so be very conscious of the dos and don’ts of posting about cannabis on Instagram.