We spend a lot of time discussing the ins and outs of leveraging social media to market dispensaries. Naturally, most of these conversations revolve around the giants—Facebook and Instagram, plus exciting up-and-comer Clubhouse—but there are a number of “minor” social media platforms that beg a closer look.
We recently devoted some time to one of them: TikTok. Today, we’re going to cover Snapchat, a unique messaging app that maximizes the thrill associated with time-sensitive content. Because most images and messages sent via Snapchat only remain available for a short period of time, there’s a built-in buzz factor.
Is Snapchat right for dispensary marketing? Let’s dive into an introduction to the app, and examine some of the pros and cons of this unique platform.
Dispensary Marketing 101: Snapchat Fundamentals
What is Snapchat, and how does it work? Snapchat is an app that allows users to send “Snaps”—photos or videos up to 10 seconds long—or collections of Snaps, called “Stories,” to each other. Once they’ve been viewed by all recipients, they’re automatically deleted. Other conditions—such as their remaining unopened for a set period of time—also trigger Snaps’ deletion.
Snapchat’s ephemeral nature makes the app especially popular with users under 35, of whom there are many: As of early 2020, Snapchat boasted an average of 218 million users per day. According to digital analysts Omnicore, some 30% of internet users aged 26 – 35 use Snapchat, along with a whopping 69% of U.S. teens.
Furthermore, Snapchat clearly differentiates between peer-to-peer content and that shared by publications and brands, accessible via the “Discover” window. This creates opportunities for businesses such as dispensaries, as we’ll see in a moment.
Finally, Snapchat is meant above all to be fun, even a bit silly. Because the app also owns photo-personalization company Bitmoji, it’s kind of a given that your selfies will be enhanced or replaced by animated cartoon icons and avatars.
Given what we know thus far—that Snapchat is an ephemeral, younger-trending, and casual app—what does this tell us about how dispensaries can leverage it as a marketing platform? Plenty, as it turns out. Let’s turn to that question next.
Dispensary Marketing 101: Should You Create a Snapchat Account?
Many dispensaries have wrestled with the question of whether or not to invest time and resources into social media marketing. After all, when most platforms specifically prohibit most kinds of content depicting cannabis products and consumption—not to mention sales—it might seem there’s little point in bothering.
We humbly disagree. Marketing is about so much more than explicit sales propositions, and there are no end of ways to share captivating and enticing images and stories that boost your brand’s visibility without running afoul of content restrictions.
As you might expect, the vanishing nature of Snapchat content draws upon users’ FOMO—that’s “fear of missing out,” in case you, well, missed out—to bring them back multiple times during the day. According to Vox Media, users spend an average of 49.5 minutes a day on the app, creating all sorts of opportunities for marketers. The question is: Are they the opportunities dispensaries should be leveraging?
We think so! For one thing, Snapchat signaled its conditional openness to cannabis marketing back in 2019, when it decided to allow sponsored Stories and Snaps from licensed cannabis producers and retailers in Canada. And while Snapchat’s users do tend to be young, at the time, current data, current data showed that Snapchat users were actually trending slightly older than today, bringing the demographic more in line with that of legal cannabis consumers.
More to the point, the app’s built-in time sensitivity is tailor-made for creating buzzy moments. By capitalizing on this ephemeral nature—and following some simple guidelines and best practices for social media marketing—dispensaries and cannabis brands can share content that’s educational, informative, entertaining, or just plain engaging on its own merits. Here are some of the most effective tactics we’ve identified thus far.
Dispensary Marketing 101: Snapchat Best Practices
Want to give Snapchat a whirl? Remember these guidelines when you’re planning your first campaign.
- Remember Your Audience: While exact numbers are difficult to pin down, some stats suggest up to 82% of Snapchat’s users are under 35 years old. Keep this in mind when planning a campaign, and skew your content towards this young and on-the-go segment.
- Seize the Moment: According to one study, 60% of Snapchat users are “more likely to make purchases.” More likely than who? That’s not made clear in the report (which was, by the way, commissioned by Snapchat). But this much is clear: Snapchat is great for driving buzz around events and even locations. How? It relies on geo-fencing—just like we do—to create exclusivity and buzz around physical locations (such as your dispensary).
- Be Fun, Playful, and Immediate: Remember that Snapchat is designed to be casual, even a little bit cheeky. That doesn’t mead crude or offensive, but—depending on your brand identity—highlighting the sillier side of cannabis or dispensary life can play well. In keeping the tone light and entertaining, you signal to consumers that you’re up for a bit of fun and playfulness yourself. More than the product or consumption shots you can’t post anyway, you’ll have more success focusing on your brand’s vibe. Snapchat incentivizes this with features such as Cameos and 3D Snaps.
To get started, you’ll want to create a Snapchat business account, which allows you to access basic analytics and audience filtering tools. And whatever you do, don’t try to push the limits of the app’s content restrictions, or you’ll risk learning a hard lesson like one very disappointed unlicensed cannabis dealer.