Everything You Need to Know About Influencers and Cannabis

It’s 4-20! Cannabis’s highest holiday. Over the last several years, we’ve seen incredible shifts in State and Federal governments to ease restrictions on cannabis.

Aana Leech
min read
Everything You Need to Know About Influencers and Cannabis

It’s 4-20! Cannabis’s highest holiday. Over the last several years, we’ve seen incredible shifts in State and Federal governments to ease restrictions on cannabis. From the Farm Bill passed in 2018 to the legalization of marijuana in several states, including our home state of Illinois, it feels like the golden age of cannabis marketing is upon us. In honor of today, we want to clear the haze on influencer and content marketing. Read on for everything you need to know about influencers and cannabis.

Go organic  

Paid cannabis advertising on every social media network is a no-go. Because these companies are governed by federal law, until cannabis is legalized at the federal level paid advertising on social media is considered a violation of social advertising policies. However, organic posting is an option, with a few caveats.

In our research we discovered that there is a risk for shutdown of Cannabis brand accounts by the networks for organic posts, with Instagram & YouTube being the most risky platforms. MediaKix provided the most useful guidelines to consider when posting organically:

  • Avoid advertising prices or promotional discounts
  • Don’t provide a direct way for users to order products
  • Partner with third-party publishers to share branded content that’s educational

Build your community

Influencers present a huge opportunity for Cannabis brands to build community and raise awareness within the cannabis community. Like organic posting, partnering with influencers does come with risk to both the brand and the influencer. According to this Business Insider article, Influencers live in a regulatory gray area. To mitigate risk, partner with influencers that are already cannabis users and have shared content with their audiences in the past. At Pop Pays we have over 2,250 influencers that are actively posting cannabis content to their followers. Like any other sponsored post, pay close attention that your partners follow FTC disclosure guidelines.

Leverage influencers to organically post about your brand to build awareness. Then repurpose the same content to build your own brand’s feed. If cross-posting influencer content isn’t enough to support your organic posting schedule - or you need content that feels more branded - engage content creators to produce organic content quickly and efficiently.

Follow LDA compliance

Legal drinking age compliance sounds like it’s better suited for cannabis’s cousin, alcohol, but following the regulations set forth by the Distilled Spirit Council is good practice for cannabis brands to adopt. LDA compliance requires that alcohol advertising should only be placed where 71.6% of the audience is reasonably expected to be of legal purchase age (21). We’ve made it easy for brands to filter by LDA compliance to discover influencers that fit the bill.

Diversify social platforms

Generating awareness for your cannabis brand means that you’ll have to rely on a strong and diversified organic strategy. The more channels you’re on the more eyeballs you’ll be able to attract, and the more you can test to see what works. A strong organic Instagram strategy might focus on building brand ambassadors with niche communities or targeted micro-influencers. Launch an educational series on YouTube to generate organic awareness that only generates more views over time as it lives on the platform.

Use Trackable Links

ROI is top of mind for every marketer. Ask influencers to include unique trackable links in their Stories, bios, or posts to see what partners drive the most bottom of the funnel activities. You can double down on these partners, creating longer-term relationships or find other influencers that fit their same audience demographics.

Influencer and content marketing is an option for cannabis brands to establish themselves on social, but not without risk. The regulatory landscape is constantly changing and your brand should work closely with your legal teams to establish your moda operandi. Wherever you are in this journey - our community of influencers and creators, software, and team - weed love to help you. Ready to create something worth sharing? Let’s chat, [email protected].

Aana Leech
Aana is the former Head of Product Brands of Popular Pays

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