There’s a lot of pressure to be on social media, whether as an individual or as a business. However, as a dispensary owner or manager, you may wonder whether it’s time well-spent. After all, you have plenty of other things you could be doing to grow your business and ensure success.
Here’s the thing—social media matters, which means that social media marketing for dispensaries can be a key way to drive engagement, encourage customer loyalty, and generate both foot traffic and web traffic.
Plus—and perhaps, most importantly—social media marketing works.
Successful marketing is a huge, fast-moving, and ever-changing target. There are few “surefire” answers—or at least few permanent ones. Finding an approach that’s proven to be effective, affordable, and realistic to implement can be the difference between business growth and business stagnation. And in an environment like the cannabis industry where the majority of businesses are enterprise-sized and fighting for their place at the table, the value of economical solutions like social media marketing is even more crucial.
Social media is not static—new apps and platforms are being introduced all the time. Knowing where to focus your time and effort, then, is a key component of effectively utilizing social media to market your dispensary. This is also what makes some dispensaries ignore social (at their peril).
In this post, we’ll discuss what social media marketing for dispensaries entails, what the value is to your business is, and how to best implement a winning strategy of social media marketing for dispensaries.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing includes all of your activity on social media sites and apps, including creating content, responding to comments and questions, sharing others’ posts, and more. Social media marketing for dispensaries also includes paid ads or promoted posts on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (when allowed).
While you can certainly sign up for a bunch of accounts on social media and post whenever the mood hits, when focusing on social media marketing, it’s best to have a structured approach that will help you cohesively convey your dispensary’s brand through the type of content shared and generated.
It’s predicted that by 2019, 2.77 billion people will be using social media. That’s a huge chunk of the world’s population, and it likely includes most of your customers and potential customers. To ensure that your posts are reaching your target audience, you’ll want to focus your efforts on the social media platforms that they use and the content they care about.
We know that Facebook is the world’s largest social network, and its popularity doesn’t appear to be waning any time soon. YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter round out the top four social media platforms in the U.S. But do you really need to be on all of them? To determine which social media platforms to focus on, consider where your customers are and what is brand appropriate. You may want to start out with two and then expand. Or you can save yourself the trouble and partner with a skilled social media marketing team that can help you maximize your online presence (while saving you time).
Why Should Dispensaries Use Social Media Marketing?
The fact that so many people are on social media isn’t the only reason why your dispensary should be using it. Rather, it’s the opportunity that social media provides dispensaries that is so astounding. Not only can dispensaries have direct engagement with customers and potential customers, but they can also gather data and collect insights to help them better serve their clientele. Data gathering tools that once were expensive and difficult to master are now available to nearly everyone.
As you probably already know, your top 20% of customers provide the highest value to your dispensary by entering loyalty programs, signing up for newsletters, and—most importantly—sharing online recommendations and tips to their friends about your business. In real life, you interact with these top-tier customers on a face-to-face basis, learning their names, their preferences, and generally treating them like the pillars of your business they truly are. This approach adds real value to your business—but it takes time.
What if you took advantage of the wealth of data available to businesses who post content on social media?
Let’s take Facebook as an example. The site’s native information-gathering features can provide detailed demographic information about the age, gender, and interests of your followers. Who watched a small fraction of the video you just shared? Who watched half of it, and who stayed to the very end? These aren’t just mere curiosities, but real, actionable data points. You can leverage the power of social media to identify potential top-tier customers and reach out to them via offers tailored exclusively to their needs and interests. Its personalization at its finest.
Now, instead of having to be present at the register for each and every sale, you can engage with a whole new community of high-value customers instantly, and on a mass scale. While we’d never suggest you abandon the old-fashioned, face-to-face approach, it’s clear there’s an immense advantage to using social media. In fact, “almost 90% of marketers say their social marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business, and 75% say they’ve increased traffic.” (Source: Vendasta)
How Do I Begin to Use Social Media Marketing for My Dispensary?
While the value of social media marketing for dispensaries is clear, social media itself is a large and potentially bewildering field. How can you make headway and ensure your message is heard?
The most practical way is to consult with a dispensary digital marketing service with years of experience. Foottraffik has helped numerous dispensaries make a mark online. Our tactics are driven by measurable results—and we work hard to help our clients maximize their visibility while reaching their target audience.
For those who want to start handling social media internally, it’s a good idea to enter the field of social media marketing for dispensaries with small, attainable steps that will increase your reach, your confidence, and your ultimate success.
Start by browsing social sites you think will be relevant to your present (and future) customer base, and—just as importantly—find ones that you want to interface with. If you don’t click with a site’s vision, message, and interface, or if you feel the content it surfaces—pushes to the top of the page or feed—doesn’t speak to your potential customers, there’s an excellent chance that trying to utilize it for marketing will quickly start to feel like a chore. Keep looking; it’s a safe bet there are other platforms better suited to your needs and goals.
If the social media site supports business pages—as is increasingly the trend—spend a little time making sure that the information, look, and feel are all correct and consistent with your brand. The idea is to present a clear and coherent message, one that telegraphs your personal taste, your attention to detail, and your reliability.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point you towards cannabis-centric platforms such as MassRoots. While it boasts a lower profile than many other social sites, it engages with a highly relevant and engaged audience.
Stop, Look, and Listen
Once you’ve identified a compatible social media platform—or, depending on your bandwidth, two or even three platforms—start observing. What sorts of posts, stories, videos, and images speak to you but also resonate with a larger audience?
There’s a fine line between merely gravitating towards what’s popular and honing in on your own personal vision and taste. This is a crucial point that applies not just to social media but arguably everything we do as businesspeople (and even as human beings):
Sharing content that doesn’t reflect your true tastes, values, aspirations, and character is likely to fall flat because it’s not genuine to you.
Look at it this way: You already had the vision and the sense to launch (or operate) a business that reflects your core interests and values. When you share content about that enterprise, make it a real and honest reflection of your brand—not just what seems popular.
The need for authenticity and coherence between your brick-and-mortar identity and your online identity is a bedrock fact about marketing. Share who you really are—while it may not attract every potential customer, it will resonate in a deep and meaningful way with those who appreciate your taste and your values.
Social Media Marketing for Dispensaries: Sharpen Your Tools
At its core, social media is about networking, which means that engagement is a key component. It’s not enough to just post content. Each social media site has its own style and rubric, and the sooner you can pick up on it, the faster you’ll be using it to its maximum potential. Hashtags are paramount on Instagram, for instance, where they’ll help you engage with an audience that may not yet be familiar with your brand.
On Facebook, they’re less important. Here, you may find that the instant and transparent engagement offered by the site’s conversational interface is a better way to connect with your audience.
And wherever you’re sharing content, leverage your real-world connections to increase your digital reach. Using hashtags and the “@“ symbol—technically known as the “commercial at”—is a powerful way to draw in collaborators, growers, suppliers, and other partners and ideally to engage with their audiences as well.
Now that nearly everyone has a fully capable still and video camera in their smartphone, there’s no excuse not to start creating content that says something about your business. On Twitter, for instance, posts with images are 150% more likely to be retweeted than those without. People love photos, it helps them feel like they’re part of the action.
And you ignore video at your own peril. According to Search Engine Journal, video-based content will only continue to grow in importance, building on its breakthrough in 2017 as the most important medium for online content. That same year, 60% of US internet users watched videos on Facebook.
To be clear: We’re not suggesting you set up your own video-production wing. But with prosumer tools such as inexpensive, high-quality tripods and Steadicams becoming more accessible and affordable, there’s no reason not to hone your skills making short, compelling, and relevant content for the growing audience of viewers on social media. Interviews are a great way to do this and can help you educate your customers on what your dispensary carries or what to expect when they come through your doors.
Social Media Marketing for Dispensaries: Wrapping Up
It’s our sincere hope that we leave you today with a better overview of the importance of social media, some of the reasons it will continue to resonate with a vast proportion of the world’s population, and most importantly, how you can best approach social media marketing for your dispensary.
There are currently a lot of social media sites and platforms, which can make deciding on effective social media marketing for dispensaries feel like an impossible task. But take it from us: It’s not. With patience, careful observation, and a bit of trial and error, crafting an effective and engaging social media presence is within every business person’s grasp.