In 2022, social media is king for cannabis companies looking to promote their products. Instagram, especially, offers incredible opportunities for marijuana companies; after all, Instagram achieved that 1 billion user mark in 2021.

However, despite the vast opportunities for brands, Instagram has uber-strict guidelines—especially for cannabis. Suppose you want to take advantage of Instagram’s incredible opportunities for your weed company? Read on!

Learn the Instagram Guidelines

Before you consider promoting your products on Instagram, you must know the Instagram guidelines. Although cannabis is legal in many U.S. states, cannabis is not legal nationwide.

As a result, Instagram has rigorous guidelines in the cannabis sector.

Instagram states: “Buying or selling firearms and illegal or prescription drugs (even if it’s legal in your region) is not allowed.” So buying and selling cannabis is illegal on the platform.

How’s that for a slap in the face?

With all that said, Instagram’s marketing guidelines are a gray area. Of course, Instagram won’t hesitate to ban accounts that breach their guidelines (often ruthlessly so). They could still remove you from Instagram even if you follow the guidelines in this article, but that’s the risk you’ll have to consider.

You should:

  • Stick to “social” objectives and avoid antagonizing the community
  • Communicate generally instead of promoting

If you do your best to meet the guidelines as a merchant, the rewards can be incredible.

Here are some tips:

1. Don’t Use Too Much Sales Lingo

Language is critical when navigating Instagram’s strict cannabis guidelines; it could make or break your account. You must avoid using “sales” language in your Instagram profile. Instead, you’ll have to save that for your landing and sales pages.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Don’t publish your product menu on the platform.
  • Be careful how you answer questions from customers. Always ask them to reach out to you directly.
  • Don’t publish any links to your products.
  • Don’t mention offers and discounts from your company.

However, due to the changing nature of Instagram’s guidelines, check the guidelines regularly to judge how much marketing you can use.

  1. Engage With Your Followers

The key to success on social media—for any brand in any industry—is to communicate directly with the customer. You can follow accounts in the cannabis industry, comment on other posts, and respond to people who comment on your posts.

Something as simple as “hearting” can go a very long way!

Remember, your followers may directly message you or ask for advice on products. In this case, you’ll have to encourage them to contact you directly via phone, email, etc. You may sometimes receive negative comments and reviews on your posts; that’s simply the nature of social media. Try your best to respond positively (we know it can be tricky).

3. Capitalize on User-Generated Content

For many cannabis start-ups, high-quality photography and videography aren’t always possible. Top brands create slick content, but you can take advantage of user-generated content; it can be just as powerful. Whenever someone posts about your brand—i.e., they recommend your product or write an excellent review—you can repost it on your page or story.

However, their account has to be public, and you have to ask for permission first. User-generated content builds trust and engagement, boosts efficiency, centers your customers, and expands your audience. There are some downsides: You lose control over the content and struggle to build authenticity. However, the pros outweigh the cons.

4. Use Instagram Stories

Instagram stories have become a pillar of successful content marketing. Users can witness your story for up to 24 hours. In addition, you can add your posts to your story to ensure your followers have the opportunity to engage with your posts.

Creating story highlights is essential. If you make an excellent story, you don’t want to lose it after 24 hours. You can simply create a story highlight and allow your followers to watch it via replay.

5. Use Influencer Marketing

Whether you love or hate influencers, Instagram influencers drive tons of traffic. You have to be careful about not breaking Instagram’s strict cannabis guidelines when using influencer marketing. Still, if you’re clever, you can use influencer marketing effectively.

Reach out to influencers who match your brand’s image. There’s no point asking a travel influencer to promote your cannabis products because it won’t engage their audience. Most importantly, offer influencers free samples in exchange for a sponsored post. That’s how new cannabis companies work with influencers despite having no marketing budget.

6. Post Consistently

Some days, you may want to sit on the sofa, watch TV, and forget about promoting your brand on social media. Unfortunately, consistency is critical in building a brand on Instagram. That doesn’t mean you should post poor content to stay consistent. Instead, you should post excellent content as much as possible.

7. Use Videos

Ever since TikTok exploded onto the scene in 2020, Instagram has focused on promoting video reels. An excellent idea for a video reel is showing people how to make cannabis cookies. As long as you don’t promote your products, you should be able to create a helpful video reel. Instagram’s video reels now have incredible traction, so you should take advantage of them.

8. Research Hashtags

Hashtags are how people will find your posts on social media; they can help brands step out of the wilderness and build a following (if used correctly). You can use 30 hashtags per post. However, don’t use the same hashtags over and over. Find out which hashtags perform the best in the cannabis industry and tailor your posts and stories to them.

In Summary

If you want to build your cannabis brand, using Instagram is a fantastic method. With that said, promoting cannabis, due to its gray legal area, isn’t as easy as other products or services.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You’re probably going to take some risks marketing your cannabis products on IG. It’s your job to minimize it.

You can do that by following the tips in this article and making superb content.

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