From the ways we shop to how we congregate and relax, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown nearly all of our assumptions, patterns, and habits into disarray. But a year in, and with—fingers crossed!—an end in sight, some valuable insights about the role of digital marketing are becoming clear. And if you’re a dispensary owner/operator, these lessons—about the value of social media marketing, and how businesses like yours can stay relevant and engaged with their customers—are ones you can’t afford to ignore.
Why is social media marketing so vital right now? Let’s run down the list.
Social Media Marketing for Dispensaries: The Rules of Engagement
Though social media is only about 25 years old, for many of us, it’s become a dominant force in our daily lives, allowing us to connect with far-flung friends and family, catch up on news, and blow off steam with engaging content.
The informal, peer-to-peer nature of social media is what makes it tick, and even before the global pandemic pretty much kicked 2020 to the curb, social media was a vital and growing platform for businesses to connect with their customers.
Has COVID-19 changed that dynamic?
You better believe it.
In other words, social media more or less became the arena for businesses to interface with their customers, especially in a year of reduced foot traffic. Whether it was sharing COVID-related service updates or announcing new offerings like delivery—which you’re already doing, right?—it’s where engagement occurred.
Engagement, as you’re well aware, is key to brand-building. Even if what you’re sharing is light and humorous—and we’re big fans of non-salesy posting—that personal connection is key.
Not sure what kind of content to share? Start with our curated list.
Social Media Marketing for Dispensaries: Authenticity Counts
Let’s stay on the topic of salesmanship for a moment. As we just said, one of social media’s crucial characteristics is its democratic nature. Because the expectation is that what gets shared on social media generally comes from friends and followers—and because sponsored content is labeled, to greater or lesser degrees—it’s relatively easy to spot paid posts (with some glaring exceptions, of course).
Our point? Be yourself on social media, and leave the hard sell for your PPC campaigns and other channels. The perception of authenticity is huge in social media, and especially in the midst of a global pandemic, demonstrating that behind your brand stand real people who know how to connect and support each other is key.
Social Media Marketing for Dispensaries: The Influencer Equation
Another unique facet of the social media realm is the role of influencers: People who have the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position or relation to their audience. Here at Foottraffik, we’ve been writing about influencers for a while now, and we’ve no plans to stop.
Why? Especially in the fast-moving cannabis industry, influencers are key figures, pointing out new strains, products, trends and styles. They’re masters of moment marketing: Creating (or making use of) a special and not-to-be-repeated moment to build curiosity, excitement, or insider cachet. Because influencers appeal more on an emotional level than a practical one, they’re a vital component of a well-rounded marketing strategy. And compared with other marketing channels, influencer marketing can be remarkably cost-effective.
Social Media Marketing for Dispensaries: Keeping the Pump Primed
No doubt about it, this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment we’re all living through. In terms of the global financial picture, it’s not at all certain what awaits us on the other side.
It’s natural that some businesspeople feel the urge to reduce or even eliminate their marketing during these uncertain times. Unfortunately, that’s a short-term solution that tends to deliver negative long-term results: Some studies suggest that those brands that rein in their marketing efforts in a downturn experience a serious decline in one or more key metrics. And trust us: We don’t want that to be you.
So with the understanding that this may well be a time of general cost-cutting, we urge you to stay engaged with your audience through one of the most powerful and cost-effective channels at your disposal: Social media. By maintaining and eventually increasing awareness of your brand, you’ll be planting the seeds of a bigger payoff down the road.
Do you have other questions about how dispensaries can leverage their social media presence? All you have to do is ask; we’re always here to help!