How to Leverage Social Media in the CBD Industry
With cannabidiol (CBD) taking off at a lightning pace, companies are popping up everywhere and the competition is heating up. But because it’s a fairly new industry, there’s still a lot of confusion and misinformation floating around the web.
That’s why social media platforms are invaluable tools that can be used to reach out and educate the public on the many benefits of CBD.
Unfortunately – despite the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill which made industrial hemp federally legal in America – CBD still exists in a gray area when it comes to online marketing.
For example, Facebook and Google, the two largest ad buying platforms, currently still prohibit CBD advertising which severely limits the ways in which entrepreneurs and CBD startups can market their products.
Despite this, there are still ways to leverage social media in the CBD industry and reach your target audience. It just takes using a smart, creative approach to easily get around the proverbial red tape.
1. Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization – SEO for short – is an easy way to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.
If you fail to utilize SEO when it comes to your online marketing strategy, your CBD business is going to get buried on Google under your competitors. That’s something you can’t afford in a market where 97% of cannabis startups fail within the first year.
Another element that goes along with SEO is making sure your website is user-friendly, optimized for mobile devices, and visually appealing. If a customer can’t easily navigate your site, they’ll go to a site that they can navigate.
SEO may sound simple but it can be difficult to do on your own, so it’s worth looking into hiring professionals who know what they’re doing so they can point you in the right direction.
2. Keep Things Interesting
This may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the most important things is to keep your content interesting. One of the main goals is to educate people, not bore them to death; and it’s a general rule that everyone learns better when they’re having fun, right?
This is especially important for CBD because it can get complicated pretty quickly when it gets down to explaining the science behind it. Keeping content easy to understand is crucial if you want to reach a wide audience.
Devising interesting and relevant content while not sounding overly promotional is the key. Rather than write post after post about the endocannabinoid system (ECS), mix it up with interesting interviews and fun, informational videos.
Social media platforms are also a great way to reach out to your audience and get them interacting with you. Consider creating contests or polls – anything that can build a stronger relationship with your public will help drive sales.
3. Provide Quality Content
Again, this one may seem like a pretty obvious observation.
The higher the quality of content, the more traffic you’re going to get. One of the main reasons people use CBD is for its health benefits, so they want authoritative content they can trust.
While SEO may get you clicks, it’s the content that gets customers to stay.
If your blog sounds like a robot wrote it, good luck getting people interested in your product. Using sources like scientific journals and studies to back up how and why CBD works is a good way to create a customer base that has faith in your credibility.
Since the CBD industry is currently in its infancy, now is the perfect time to establish yourself as the leading industry expert. Keeping up-to-date with the world of CBD and disseminating information via social media platforms can quickly build an audience who not only turn to you for information, but also pass what they learn on to friends and family.
4. Use Influencers
Influencer culture is everywhere these days and is one of the most effective marketing strategies for platforms like Instagram, where direct CBD marketing is prohibited – Instagram is owned by Facebook, so their rules apply.
And while blatant advertising isn’t allowed, there’s nothing stopping you from posting about CBD on these social media platforms. Partnering up with influencers is a smart way to get visibility for your product.
cbdMD is a good example of an up-and-coming CBD company that found an influencer marketing niche in the sports world, partnering with the likes of Bubba Watson and Ice Cube’s Big3, a professional basketball league.
Understanding your audience is important because it will help you narrow down which influencers will be most beneficial. Established influencers already have a large audience who trust their opinion, so if they say your CBD is the best on the market, there’s a high likelihood their followers will think so too.
When reaching out to influencers, make sure to take a personalized approach. It may be tempting to save time and send out a generic message, but making the effort to approach each person individually will yield greater results.
5. Affiliate Ad Networks
Unlike advertising with Facebook and Google which use a “pay per visitor” system, affiliate ad networks use a commission basis. This is an effective strategy to get online exposure and drive traffic to your site.
What’s important here is to make sure the affiliate network is going to be of interest to your target demographic. For example, as a CBD company, you would be more likely to get traffic from a health and wellness site than you would from a clothing company.
You also want to make sure that your product is going to be appealing to the affiliate as well. One strategy is to offer a competitive bonus that’s equal or greater to other competing companies.
6. Avoid Making Health Claims
One of the biggest mistakes CBD companies can encounter is making unprecedented medical claims. For example, stating CBD can “cure” or “treat” anything is a great way to get your company red-flagged by the FDA.
Familiarize yourself with what you can and can’t say when it comes to marketing CBD. In general, it’s best to avoid referencing diseases. Instead, talking about the applications CBD may be used for and focusing on more general information is a safer approach for the time being.
While social media is great for using testimonials, customer reviews, and personal experiences with CBD to market your product, be careful to moderate the content. It’s happened before that companies have gotten in trouble for featuring customer reviews which made medical claims, even though the company itself was not making them.
If you follow these six simple rules, using social media to market your CBD company is an effective and easy way to build a customer base. All it takes is understanding what your target demographic is looking for and providing them with quality content they can trust.