Where Cannabis Brands Should Invest Their Social Media Marketing Budgets

Every cannabis and cannabis-related brand’s target customer audience is likely to be active on social media today, which means your brand should be there too. In other words, social media marketing should be part of every cannabis and ancillary business’ marketing strategy and budget. 

Advertising on most social media platforms is challenging, if not impossible, for cannabis and cannabis-related brands, but social media is still critical for your business. Rather than spending on social media ads, you should be allocating part of your marketing budget to social media content creation and distribution, engagement, and outreach. 

Think of it this way – consumers typically conduct online research about every brand they might consider and having an active social footprint that establishes your brand as trustworthy, reliable, and authentic is crucial to ensuring they include your brand in the final buying decision. 

In other words, social proof is powerful in terms of telling your story and giving your brand and business credibility so consumers trust you enough to consider your brand. That’s why social media marketing through content, engagement, and outreach is so important.

Where should cannabis brands invest their social media marketing budgets? Based on number of users, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok should be your top channels. According to research from eMarketer, the top eight social media platforms in 2022 based on number of users are as follows:

  1. Facebook: 180.7 million users
  2. Instagram: 126.3 million users
  3. TikTok: 90.6 million users
  4. Pinterest: 89.6 million users
  5. Snapchat: 88.8 million users
  6. LinkedIn: 66.8 million users
  7. Twitter: 56.1 million users
  8. Reddit: 45.9 million users

However, overall popularity doesn’t tell the full story when it comes to investing your marketing budget. You also need to consider who is likely to use each platform. For example, TikTok users skew younger, LinkedIn users tend to be professionals seeking business- and career-related content, and Pinterest users skew female. 

In other words, number of users shouldn’t be the only criteria you use to determine where to invest your social media marketing budget. You also need to consider who those users are and how often they use each platform. If your target audience only uses a specific social media platform occasionally, then it’s probably not the best place to invest your marketing dollars. 

Not only is how often someone uses a social media platform important to consider but so is how much time they spend on a platform on a daily basis. According to data from Statista, as of April 2022, the average time an individual spent per day in the United States on seven popular social media platforms is as follows:

  1. TikTok: 45.8 minutes
  2. YouTube: 45.6 minutes
  3. Twitter: 34.8 minutes
  4. Snapchat: 30.4 minutes
  5. Facebook: 30.1 minutes
  6. Instagram: 30.1 minutes
  7. Reddit: 23.8 minutes

Social media marketing is critical to cannabis and cannabis-related businesses, but you need to invest wisely to get the best return on your investments. With that said, following are tips and insights about the the top social media platforms you should consider including in your social media marketing budget in 2022.

1. Instagram

Instagram is a must in most business’ social media marketing plans for the simple fact that research has shown it’s the most popular social media platform for people to follow brands.

Therefore, you should allocate some of your social media marketing to Instagram and prioritize the following tactics in your Instagram marketing plan:

  • Publish original content (images and videos) to your Feed and Story.
  • Focus on creating useful, educational, entertaining, and/or engaging content rather than selling.
  • Create Instagram Guides to curate your previously published evergreen content into useful new content.
  • Use Instagram Carousels, Reels, and IGTV to share stories and relevant content.
  • Actively engage with other users by following them, liking their content, and commenting on their content.
  • Use hashtags in your posts so they’re easier to find.

2. Facebook

For most cannabis businesses and ancillary businesses, Facebook is important for the simple fact that so many people actively use it.

Depending on the types of products or services you sell and who your target audience is, your investment in creating Facebook content and engaging with the Facebook community may be more or less than your Instagram investment. Consider where your audience spends the most time and allocate your budget accordingly.

Following are tactics to include in your Facebook marketing plan:

  • Publish original content (images, text, and videos) to your brand’s Facebook Page.
  • Include links in your posts to your website to read your blog posts, watch your videos, and more.
  • Share content from other sources that is relevant to your business and useful for your target audience (e.g., news articles, third party research reports, your customers’ or business partners’ blog posts, and so on).
  • Actively respond to comments, questions, and messages that other users submit to your Page.
  • Engage with others by following and liking other Pages as well as by liking, commenting, and sharing content from other Pages on your brand’s Page.

3. LinkedIn

For B2B brands, LinkedIn should be a top priority. Your company’s LinkedIn profile should be complete and active.

Importantly, your employees should have updated LinkedIn Profiles and identify themselves as employees of your company. That way, they’re listed when visitors click on the “employees” link in your company page. It’s just one more way to give your company legitimacy and help people trust your brand.

Additional tactics to prioritize in your LinkedIn marketing plan include:

  • Share content published on your website to your company’s profile on LinkedIn and link to the source (e.g., blog posts, reports, videos, etc.).
  • Encourage employees to comment on the posts you publish on your company’s LinkedIn profile and share those posts on their personal profiles.
  • Share content published by others on your company’s LinkedIn profile that would be useful to your brand’s target audience.
  • Actively engage with others on LinkedIn to further build brand trust.

4. YouTube

The top social media marketing tactic that B2B cannabis brands should use this year is video content, and as the second largest search engine in the world, YouTube is the first logical place to publish that content.

Creating online video content doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, but it typically does take longer to create, upload, and publish videos than it does to publish text or image content. Therefore, your YouTube budget will likely be high, but it’s extremely important given current trends related to how people consume and engage with online content. Bottom-line, audiences of all ages like to watch and share video content.

Following are some tactics you can include in your YouTube marketing plan to leverage the rapid growth of online video content:

  • Focus on the quality of the video content based on your audience’s preferences more so than the production quality. Videos don’t have to be professionally created as long as they educate, entertain, and/or engage your audience. In fact, a YouTube channel filled with professional videos can seem inauthentic. Match your content to your brand.
  • Create a variety of video content in terms of topics covered, length, production (professional vs. amateur), purpose (entertaining, educational, or promotional), and so on.
  • Create playlists of your related videos.
  • Create playlists of videos created by other users that are about your brand or business.
  • Focus on writing video titles and descriptions that include relevant keywords so it’s easier for people to find your videos in searches.

5. TikTok

The popularity of TikTok and its short video format has skyrocketed, and depending on your brand and target audience, it may be an important platform for you to invest some of your social media marketing budget.

The TikTok audience still skews younger today (although it’s popularity is expanding to more diverse audiences), so consider your audience’s demographics and prioritize the platform in your social media marketing plan accordingly. It may be essential or it may not be important for your business yet. Only you can make that determination based on your target audience.

Following are some TikTok publishing tips to help with your online video marketing plan:

  • Keep videos short (that’s the purpose of TikTok).
  • Publish relevant videos that are entertaining, educational, and engaging.
  • Don’t promote your products, services, or business.
  • Jump on trends that are relevant to your audience and brand.
  • Use hashtags to make your content easier to find.

6. Twitter

Many people think Twitter isn’t an important social media platform today, but that’s not true. While your Twitter marketing budget may not be as high as your Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube budget, it’s still an important part of your overall social media marketing plan.

There are two primary reasons for its continued importance: 1) People will look for your brand’s Twitter Profile when researching your business, and 2) Twitter provides an excellent opportunity to expand your social footprint with a relatively small investment.

Therefore, consider including the following tactics in your Twitter marketing plan:

  • Share all content you publish on your website with links to the original sources (e.g., blog posts, videos, infographics, reports, press releases, resources, etc.).
  • Share content from other third party sources that is relevant and interesting to your target audience with links to the sources.
  • Include an @mention for all sources in your messages.
  • Ask questions and engage others in your Twitter conversations by including an @mention for each user. This is an excellent tactic to use as part of your online influencer marketing strategy.
  • Share other people’s Twitter posts that your target audience would be interested in.
  • Like and comment on other people’s posts.
  • Use hashtags to make it easy for people to find your posts.
  • Follow other people to grow your audience.

Key Takeaways about Social Media Marketing Budgets for Cannabis Brands

For the simple reason that there are so many restrictions for cannabis and cannabis-related businesses on social media platforms, social media marketing probably won’t be as high on your marketing priority list as it would be for brands in other industries. However, social media marketing still must be included in your marketing budget in order to build your online presence and establish your brand’s social footprint.

Bottom-line, both B2C and B2B consumers search for brands and businesses before they consider buying them. Your brand and business need to be visible, accessible, reliable, and useful when they look, and social media helps you do it.

Originally published 4/13/21. Updated 7/8/22.

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