When marketing legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp products online, there’s a lot to consider. From changing regulations to strict platform guidelines—it’s difficult to establish yourself on social media in our industry. And often, marketing cannabis products on social media can lead to your account being banned.
Despite the challenge, social media is still a leading strategy for reaching consumers and building an audience. So, what are the dos and don’ts of marketing cannabis on social media?
In this article, we’ll go over some basic rules and best practices to follow and give you some cannabis social media marketing ideas that will help you get started.
What You Can and Can’t Say in Cannabis Marketing on Social Media
When crafting your cannabis marketing material, there are many factors to consider. First, and most importantly, are the regulations in your state. All states with legalized adult-use cannabis have restrictions and regulations on what can and can’t be said in marketing messaging.
These regulations are in place to protect consumers, including minors, so it’s critically important to follow them. Since each state has unique regulations, be sure to refer to your local government for further instructions.
Some attornies recommend that companies continuously review and update past social media posts as regulations change. The FDA and FTC can judge previous posts through the lens of the current laws and penalize the companies responsible accordingly.
At the federal level, there are regulations regarding health claims that pertain to legalized cannabis and CBD. Claims that are not allowed in cannabis marketing include claims that suggest a cannabis product can:
- Cure, lessen, or relieve any physical disease or illness
- Cure, lessen, or relieve any mental health condition
- Alleviate pain, physical disease symptoms, or mental health symptoms
- Prevent mental or physical disease or illness
This includes the following:
- Labeling a product as “anti-” something (anti-inflammatory, for example)
- Suggesting usage for specific conditions
- Naming physical or mental illness in the product labeling or marketing messaging
Once you’ve confirmed your marketing is compliant with government regulations, it’s time to consider platform guidelines.
No social media platform will allow paid advertising of cannabis products due to the lack of federal regulations. Different platforms each have their own set of user guidelines and their own disciplinary actions for noncompliance in terms of cannabis-related organic content.
Here’s a brief overview of what each platform says about cannabis content:
Instagram for Cannabis Marketing
Instagram does not allow cannabis businesses to promote direct methods of contact on their business profile, however, they are allowed to link to their website.
The site guidelines prohibit the promotion of cannabis products (even if it’s legal in the business’s region) and there have been reports of accounts being removed for promoting cannabis. However, there is a thriving community of legal U.S. cannabis, CBD, and hemp companies on the app.
TikTok for Cannabis Marketing
TikTok is firmly against the promotion of any cannabis-related products. The algorithm is trained to flag videos that feature cannabis-related content and hashtags, so it’s incredibly difficult to grow or build an audience.
The platform has also been known to ban users from posting content related to cannabis. For these reasons, it’s not recommended for cannabis businesses at this time.
Facebook for Cannabis Marketing
Facebook is not a cannabis-friendly platform when it comes to organic growth, ads, and posts. They do allow hemp companies that comply with all laws to promote their companies.
However, Facebook groups are a good option for building a community. This option is especially ideal for local businesses and dispensaries.
YouTube for Cannabis Marketing
YouTube is one of the best platforms for posting cannabis-related content. While the content will not be monetizable (meaning you will not be eligible for YouTube’s creator payment program), there are countless videos about adult and medical use of cannabis and CBD that have racked up millions of views.
Reddit for Cannabis Marketing
Reddit communities exist for almost every type of cannabis product and use, so it’s a great place to engage with your audience, build a following, and provide quality customer service.
Pinterest for Cannabis Marketing
Pinterest’s community guidelines state that commercial sales of cannabis products are not allowed on their platform, but they do allow posts about cannabis-related topics. Recipes with adult-use cannabis edibles, for example, are common on the app.
3 Cannabis Marketing Ideas for Social Media in 2023
Now that you understand the best practices for cannabis marketing on social media, let’s explore some trending strategies for 2023.
Influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, and user-generated content (UGC) have been trending for a few years now, and these types of marketing are not going anywhere anytime soon.
Working with cannabis influencers on social media or cannabis affiliate marketing bloggers is a great way to reach new customers. This is especially true for brands just beginning to establish themselves.
Influencers and affiliate marketers don’t just work on Instagram and TikTok—there are influencers across all social media platforms. A Pinterest cooking influencer, for example, could try one of your edibles in a recipe, or a self-care YouTuber could try your CBD face masks as a part of their nighttime routine.
The important thing to remember with influencers and affiliate marketers is that they are contractors. As such, your contract with them should stipulate that they don’t make claims that go against regulations. Influencers must be equally as careful to follow regulations as the businesses that hire them.
Branch Out on Social Media
If you’ve been struggling to grow on one platform for a long period of time, consider branching out to new platforms. While Instagram is the go-to for most social media marketing strategies, it’s increasingly difficult to grow on the platform.
Pinterest, Reddit, and YouTube are all great options to consider in addition to your Instagram efforts. All these platforms have different best practices and will require unique strategies to succeed, but stepping outside a platform you have been struggling with can unlock a new audience.
Curate an Experience
On platforms like Pinterest, trend predictions highlight the ways social media users use apps to find inspiration for IRL experiences. Regardless of the medium they choose, the best social media marketers do this with storytelling.
Try imagining why your customers purchase your products and use your social posts to paint a picture for them. Think: an Instagram reel about the top 5 cannabis tourism stops in your state, a carousel post about self-care THC bath bombs and face masks, or a nightly journaling and meditation routine featuring your all-star CBD product.
Sell and Promote Your Cannabis in a Trusted Marketplace
All good marketing strategies begin by developing a foundation of trust with your customers. And there’s no better place to do that than in Qredible®.
It is important to stipulate that Qredible is not an online marketplace like Leafly, Weedmaps, and other platforms. Qredible is a 100% unbiased resource. This means we never profit from the sale of products on our platform; however, we do provide the ability for consumers to research the authenticity of brands and products.
We provide a link to the sale site where your products are represented. Qredible is the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry’s only digital registry of validated and verified brands that provides a host of tools and functionalities to help you grow and protect your business.
We genuinely want to see the expansion and growth of this industry through the promotion of safe and trustworthy brands. The costs of doing business in this industry is high enough without us putting ourselves in the middle of your revenue stream!
The focus of the Qredible marketplace is to provide a central hub where subscribers can manage and promote how potential buyers buy from them, whether it is a direct link to their e-commerce site or direct links to multiple integrated marketplaces and platforms.
If a company needs help with an e-commerce site, Qredible offers Q-Transact—a white-label integrated scalable e-commerce system designed for growth and simplicity, without having to pay an e-commerce participation fee.
Qredible is the only digital registry of verified and validated legalized cannabis, hemp, and CBD brands. Want to be in Qredible? Get started today.