Instagram has become the hottest social media brand in the world — and it’s only been around for six years. Instagram is second only to Facebook with 400 million monthly active users, and 77% of those users are outside the U.S. With more than 40 billion total images shared, users post an average of 80 million pictures per day, making it a hotbed for marketing and advertising on both a global and local scale. But as a marijuana brand, how do you make the most of your social media marketing, especially when you exist in a controversial, niche industry like cannabis? We’re here to help with these hot tips.
Find the tangible in your intangible brand.
Depending on what your company offers, sharing photos can get tricky. If you run a high-quality glass business that produces beautiful pieces, you should have no problem producing pictures that showcase and flatter your products. If you run a cannabis consulting firm, however, coming up with concrete images could get a little tricky.
One solution to this is to build your brand by taking pictures in your work environment to let followers peek into the day-to-day of your company’s work culture. A picture with a face in it gets 38% more likes than other photos, so let your employees have fun with this; bringing in multiple senses of humor, perspectives, and interests will keep your posts fresh and keep you (and your employees) from getting sick of bearing the sole burden of running the account. If you’re bored with your posts, chances are your followers are too.
Another possible solution is to share photos and experiences relevant to your brand, even if they’re not unique to it. The cannabis community specifically has a great sense of humor (I wonder why…?) and weed-related memes or images do extremely well in terms of likes and tags. Also creating beautiful images of cannabis or people using it isn’t hard — just point, focus, and shoot.
Build a community around a unique hashtag.
Choosing a brand-specific hashtag interesting enough to gain traction is a great way to illicit more user-interaction and in turn raise awareness for your brand. Also, the hashtag can be leveraged over other social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, killing four birds with one stone.
While it’s easy to use a major company like Nike as a successful example of how strong a hashtag can be (#runfree, #justdoit, etc.), how can a smaller business utilize this as well? Here, we’ll take a page out of Infatuation’s book. Infatuation is a restaurant review site founded in 2009 that was essentially unknown until a strange yet popular hashtag started showing up on foodie photos across the ’gram: #EEEEEATS. On Infatuation’s bio, they introduced the hashtag, saying it was for “anyone who is serious about food, but doesn’t take food too seriously.” The hashtag currently has almost 2 million posts.
Much like the foodie industry, cannabis enthusiasts are big fans of hashtags. While #cannabis is the most popular with 4.7 million mentions, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Try thinking of something that relates to your niche in the industry, be it dabs, vapes, glass, marketing, etc. And remember, everyone appreciates a little humor.
Interact with others to grow your following.
Now this should be a no-brainer, but if you really want to grow your audience, it’s going to need some give-and-take. Like much of social media today, so many posts are just shouts into the abyss; everyone wants to talk, but no one wants to listen. So, in order to prove yourself interesting and worthy of following, you have to be interested and follow others as well. Search hashtags relevant to your brand, then like and comment on posts you see. Following other users helps immensely as well in terms of follow-backs, especially if you like their posts and demonstrate interest.
To build a loyal following, you have to put in some effort. Showing that you’re vested in and care about your followers, especially in the beginning, will help you earn more support — just like you would with physical customers.