To date, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has given the green light to one cannabis-derived and three cannabis-related drugs. And, the FDA now considers hemp seed, hemp seed oil, and hemp protein powder safe for human consumption. However, the sale of dietary supplements, food, and drinks containing cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) remains illegal.
The legal limits around CBD products, coupled with advertising restrictions on social media, have made cannabis marketing more challenging for businesses. CBD-related Instagram ads, for instance, have a high chance of being disapproved, and their related accounts can even be banned.
So why should you still promote your CBD brand on Instagram?
Why Instagram Is Crucial to Your Cannabis Marketing Plan
Instagram helps fuel brand awareness and engagements and plays a role in consumers’ decision to make a purchase.
A Facebook IQ study of people who use Instagram regularly found that a majority of survey respondents who saw a product or service on the platform took action. Of those surveyed, 79% looked for more details, 65% checked out the brand’s website or app, and an impressive 46% bought something online or offline.
To top this off, 78% of businesses with an Instagram presence were viewed by survey participants as popular, 74% were viewed as relevant, while 72% think a business is committed to building community. As such, CBD brands who want to drive more shoppers to their site, spread the word about their products, and maintain a positive image can benefit tremendously from building a strong Instagram presence.
How to Promote Your CBD Business on Instagram
Right now, you can’t build a cannabis marketing strategy around Instagram ads. But there are tons of marketing tools available to you that can promote brand awareness or discovery, product education, trust-building, purchase, and nurturing relationships with repeat clients and fans.
Use Local Hashtags
One way to be discovered by your target customers is through location-specific hashtags. For example, add #cbd[your city] or #[yourstate]cbd to your list of hashtags.
You can also use free online Instagram hashtag tools to find out how widespread these hashtags are and discover other related or popular local hashtags.
Instagram users turn to hashtags to discover specific content, enabling you to extend your marketing reach and make it easy for your target clients to find you. Moreover, unlike stories that disappear after 24 hours, the images you post will stay in these hashtags forever.
Take Advantage of Geo-tags
Another Instagram tool you can use to boost brand awareness is location tagging, also called geo-tagging. Each time you upload a post, indicate your business location, city, or state.
To reach more viewers, diversify your geo-tags. Aside from images taken at your business location, incorporate shots of local attractions and landmarks, then geo-tag these too. Be sure to publish content and geo-tag these regularly, so your posts can show up on the first page of your geo-tags’ feeds.
Associate Your Brand With a Local Lifestyle
As you plan your cannabis marketing strategy, think about the traits you want people to associate with your brand. Is it luxury? Fun? Health? Decide what kind of impression you want to make and align your visuals accordingly.
For example, if you want to emphasize fun, show images of a group of friends using your product. If you want clients to associate your brand with luxury, use images exuding affluent lifestyles. If you want your posts to be more relatable, feature the many ways real, ordinary individuals are using your products.
Since you can’t directly promote the sale of CBD products, you need to get creative with your posts. Aside from showcasing your products, include images and videos of what goes on behind the scenes in your business. You can post events you attend and participate in or show your staff preparing orders.
Create Educational Material They Can Download
Maybe your prospects are on the fence about buying products at your dispensary because they are unsure of its benefits.
Put together an ebook enumerating your items’ benefits and answering other questions people often have about CBD. Then in your posts, include a call-to-action prompting Instagram users to click on a link leading to your landing page. This lets you capture their emails and nurture them through automated marketing campaigns.
Alternatively, you can ask interested followers to send you a direct message to get a link to your ebooks. This strategy feels more personal, allowing you to directly engage with your potential clients and show the level of service and attention you can give them.
Engage & Build Trust Through User-Generated Content
Customers who post about your products, mention you, and use hashtags or geo-tags cab dramatically boost your visibility and credibility in your local community. Prospects who see these non-sponsored posts from real people like themselves help prove that you genuinely deliver excellent products and services. Plus, their followers, family, and friends may feel more inclined to choose you over your competitors if someone they know and trust has enjoyed doing business with you.
Promote Related Local Content
Since you’re building your business as a local brand and embedding yourself in the local Instagram community, include posts about relevant events, companies, and people in your area. Reposting such content allows you to be seen as approachable, caring, and involved in local happenings, not just a company solely interested in selling.
Maximize Instagram Stories
There may be times when you want to give your followers a sneak peek of your business operations, but the images don’t match the “luxurious” or “fun” vibe you’ve selected for your carefully curated Instagram feed. The good news is you can still share the content through Instagram Stories.
Images and videos you share as Instagram Stories are only available for 24 hours. Despite their short life, they can draw more audience to your feed. Here are just a few ways you can leverage Instagram stories for your cannabis marketing:
- Share behind-the-scenes of your business event or daily operations
- Use images or videos to give viewers an idea of where their CBD comes from and how the products are prepared
- Promote one of your blog posts and provide a link to your site
- Use poll stickers to learn more about your followers, such as their favorite products
- Include question stickers to gain insights about your audience. For instance, you can ask how they use the CBD oil, what types of content they wish to in your feed, or questions on your products.
Then, send direct messages to your audience to answer their questions. You can even use the input when you create more content, such as including the answers in your downloadable ebook and posting them in your website’s FAQ section.
Cannabis marketing requires an in-depth understanding of the industry, laws, products, and target clients. The team at Medicated Marketing can put you in front of the right people through better organic search rankings, reputation management, and website development. Fill out our online form to get started on a digital marketing strategy for your CBD business.