Do you own a legal cannabis or CBD business and need advice about social media marketing for cannabis? Then you already know that maneuvering state and federal laws can be a real headache. While your product helps people with chronic illnesses, painful injuries, and debilitating depression and anxiety, cannabis is viewed as a recreational drug to some—not a legitimate medical treatment. And CBD often gets lumped unfairly into the same category.

To broaden your reach, grow your following, and avoid penalties or deletion of your social accounts, incorporate these eight tips into your social media content strategy.

1.Educate Your Followers

Many cannabis businesses and dispensaries assume that their followers are already members of the cannabis community. This may be true for the majority of your existing fans. However, now that the medical marijuana and CBD industries have gone mainstream it’s likely that newbies will be excited and curious to follow your social accounts and products too. Make yourself stand out in the world of social media marketing for cannabis by providing resources and education for those who are new to medical cannabis.

2. Don’t Use “Stereotypical” Language

If you want to be taken seriously as a medical cannabis grower or distributor, don’t pigeonhole yourself by using discrediting language. Using stoner language like doobie, getting high, and ripping bongs does you no favors; it undermines your authority and credibility as a legitimate business. While this language may appeal to a certain clientele and could possibly help you grow your readership and followers faster, it doesn’t result in the type of buzz you need. This doesn’t mean you can’t be funny or mention the recreational side of cannabis. Just do so carefully and respectfully when tackling social media marketing for cannabis.

3. Use Niche and Popular Hashtags

Hashtags serve as free advertising—especially now that Instagram users can follow hashtags like they would independent accounts. To get the most out of your hashtags, vary smaller hashtags (100-10,000 uses) with larger ones (one million uses). For instance, if you only use huge hashtags like #MedicalCannabis #MedicalMarijuana and #Cannabis in your posts, you’ll never be seen for more than a few minutes in search. Here’s a guide we love about proper hashtag research. You also have to be careful with spammy or “banned” hashtags, so do your research. Probably not a great idea to blast #420forlife on each and every post!

4. Don’t Use the Same Hashtags Over and Over

While some brands have stopped using hashtags altogether to avoid being #shadowbanned, this is extreme. If you use hashtags appropriately, they’re one of your best opportunities to gain loyal, organic followers quickly and effectively. To avoid triggering Instagram’s spam radar, don’t use the same hashtags every day. Instead, alternate your hashtags so you use different groups of tags weekly based on post subject and location. Don’t use your hashtags in the same order either. Avoid using banned or controversial hashtags you know have caused issues with other accounts to stay in the clear.

5. Don’t Use Your Social as a Sales Pitch

Instagram has been known to delete accounts that mention selling cannabis—even if it’s only to licensed dispensaries or individuals who have medical cards. Medical cannabis is still fighting for legitimacy on social media, so never mention sales or inventory on your social profiles. Otherwise, you’ll run a high risk of having your account deleted. Some profiles add a NOTHING FOR SALE note to their bio to avoid scrutiny, but this extra step of caution is up to you.

6. Include Pictures of Yourself and Other Employees

While pictures of your product are important, your followers also want to see the people who run your business. Faces convert. Whenever possible, post pictures of yourself and your employees working, having fun, and interacting with customers (with their permission, of course). This gives your brand personality and makes you seem more relatable and legit! Just make sure you know the best practices for using images of your employees and customers.

7. Use Stories to Showcase Your Brand

If you aren’t already using stories on Instagram and Facebook, you should absolutely start. It’s easy to post a few per week, and stories can earn you much more exposure and engagement than a traditional post. Stories are also “discoverable,” which means that even users who don’t follow you can see your content!

8. Hire a Professional

It’s overwhelming to manage social channels all by yourself. It’s also a lot of work to do it right. To get great results, we suggest you hire a photographer once a month or every couple to supply your marketing team with quality photos for your social profiles. It’s also beneficial to hire a designer to produce branded images and edit and resize your photos for different platforms.

If you want to take your cannabis or CBD social media to the next level, it may be worth your while to hire a boutique agency like Witty Kitty! We specialize in content for the medical cannabis and health and wellness industries. Send us a message if you’d like to learn more!

Editor’s Note: This post was previously published in 2019 and has recently been revamped by our team to offer the latest and greatest images, stats, and educational info. Enjoy!