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Can A Cannabis Dispensary Advertise on Facebook? Yes, But…

The cannabis industry has had its fair share of regulatory restrictions in the last two decades. Although governments over the world have placed barriers to inhibit its growth, the legal market for cannabis has found ways to survive.

Even with the legalization of medical marijuana, digital media sites, like Facebook, have made it difficult for cannabis dispensaries to advertise their products on the platform.

This is in line with the policy that prevents users from promoting not only recreational and prescription drugs, but also drug-related products.

Nevertheless, there’s a way to market medical cannabis on Facebook.

This article will help business owners understand how to market their marijuana dispensaries and products on the social media platform.

Why is Social Media Marketing Important for a Cannabis Dispensary?

Social media is one of the effective interactive platforms available to any business. They are also vital advertising tools for dispensaries.

Here are five solid reasons why social media platforms are crucial to cannabis dispensaries:

1. Broader Reach

About 1.66 billion people log on to Facebook daily. This implies that if you advertise your business on social media, you could spread the word about it to a large number of daily users. Unlike traditional advertising, digital marketing on such sites is measurable, and you can keep tabs of the number of people that visit your site, your bounce rate, and even your leads.

2. Increased website traffic

CBD advertising on Facebook is an excellent way to direct people to your website. This, in turn, will lead to increased traffic.

3. Better customer relationship

If you own or manage a cannabis dispensary, you’ll know that you need to double the effort you put in marketing your products because of the criticism they’ll initially get. This is where digital marketing strategies come into play. Apart from broadening your reach, social media marketing helps dispensaries to build a relationship with their customers. On these platforms like Facebook, that customers use for many reasons, you can find out more about your users, increase engagement with them, and get their preferences.

4. Better User Experience

In this digital age, conventional ways of getting information about a product or service are dying. Instead, social media platforms are where people go to when they hear about a business for the first time. A marijuana dispensary that does not have a social media account nor optimize its users’ experience will likely not be gaining many customers.

5. Online visibility

Digital marketing is essential to dispensaries because it helps them to be noticeable. If information about a company or business is not available on social media or any of the search engines, then there’s a high probability that people will lose interest before they get to find out what your business is about.

Can cannabis business owners advertise on Facebook?

To answer the question simply, cannabis dispensaries can advertise on Facebook. However, there is a way to go about it without being penalized by the social media platform.

Challenges of advertising cannabis on Facebook

Here are some of the obstacles you may face when advertising your cannabis business on Facebook:

1. Your advert will get disapproved if you use words like marijuana or cannabis: Facebook allows only pre-approved drug companies to run adverts. Therefore, like alcohol sales, online gambling, and hate speech adverts, using controversial words that do not align with the social media platform’s privacy policy is not permitted.

2. Adverts that contain standalone images of cannabis or marijuana may get disapproved: Another challenge to advertising cannabis or marijuana on Facebook is that the platform does not allow pictures that depict the products.

3. Continuously disapproved adverts on your page could affect your trustworthiness score: Facebook launched its trustworthiness rating as one of the tools to stop misinformation on its platform. When people report stories as false, Facebook’s tech team checks the facts of the story. However, since it is tasking to keep tabs of every story, trust ratings came into play. If you continuously break the two privacy policy rules that we’ve explained above, your trustworthiness rating will likely be low. This implies that users will scroll through your adverts because they think it is fake, or the platform could reduce your online visibility altogether.

4. Your account may get banned for breaking any of the rules above: In severe cases, your account may get banned, and it’ll likely take a lot of effort and time to get it working again.

Tips to advertizing your marijuana Business on Facebook

Facebook has been rigid with its policies for some time. Therefore, marketers have to develop tactics to avoid their trustworthiness score from dropping and getting banned.

Here are a couple of ways you can bypass Facebook’s strict guidelines and start advertising your cannabis business on the platform:

1. Mind your language: Any marketer you meet will tell you that the words you use to promote your product or business matters. So, if you want to run an advert for your cannabis dispensary on Facebook without getting disapproved, you have to watch the words you use. But how can you run an advert for a marijuana business without using ‘marijuana’ or ‘cannabis’?

One useful tip you can use when thinking of the words to use in advertising is to add hyphens. For example, while ‘medical cannabis’ will get flagged by Facebook, adverts that use ‘medical-cannabis’ will be approved.

This is because the social media site registers the word ‘medical-cannabis’ as one, whereas it is optimized to flag either of the two separate words; ‘medical’ and ‘cannabis.’ You can use this tip for all other terms that you are sure Facebook will flag.

2. Create a conversion funnel

Once virtually none of your advert is getting disapproved by Facebook’s algorithm, we recommend you create a conversion funnel.

A conversion funnel is a tool that helps digital marketers understand how potential customers visit a site and take action. By creating one, you can get insights into the form and type of adverts that worked on some customers. Using this funnel helps dispensaries to determine what to tweak, or continue doing to increase customers, impressions, and traffic on your site.

The four main steps to follow are:

A. Ensure customers are aware of your marijuana dispensary and product: This includes any tactic that allows your brand to get to your target audience. There are several ways to make this happen like

  • PPC campaigns: This will enable you to target ads to potential customers that search for your service or product.
  • Organic search: This allows you to get across to users, usually at a lower cost

B. Make your customers interested in your product or service.

C. Show your leads why they need your cannabis products

D. Lastly, take action.

3. Use watermarked pictures: Here is a solution to the problem of Facebook disapproving your adverts because it has marijuana imagery. By branding the picture with watermarks and adding some text to it, Facebook Ad manager will approve your adverts, even if it depicts marijuana or cannabis. This is because the machine learning algorithm is set to only flag unbranded pictures of cannabis or marijuana.

Tips to marketing your dispensary on Facebook without advertising 

Advertising and marketing are two words that are easy to mix up and used interchangeably. However, marketing encompasses advertising.

Let’s find out ways to market your cannabis dispensary on Facebook without using adverts

1. Post Relevant content to boost SEO

Social media platforms like Facebook can also help to boost the SEO of your cannabis website. Here are a couple of ways to go about increasing traffic on your site with social media platforms:

  • Reshare or repurpose engaging content: Resharing your post or content is an excellent way to direct new customers to your website. Therefore, we recommend that after evaluating the performance of your posts each month, you reshare the most engaging ones to increase traffic and online visibility. For example, if you write an article on the difference between hemp and marijuana, resharing it or repurposing the piece into a video is sure to generate a new set of potential customers for you.
  • Make your page a go-to source for cannabis and marijuana news on Facebook: The cannabis industry is ever-changing, with new states in the US legalizing the use of medical cannabis every now and then. You can increase your online visibility and drive people to your website by posting regular updates of what is happening in the industry, and occasionally giving opinions.

2. Use hashtags like SEO keywords

Hashtags increase the online visibility of pages on social media sites. However, using them carelessly will not be of use to the marijuana dispensary. Therefore, try to use them strategically instead of randomly through your adverts.

Guidelines to follow when using hashtags:

  • Ensure your hashtags are relevant to the content you are putting out.
  • Do not repeat hashtags from different posts and try to come up with different ones each time you make a post.
  • Don’t clutter your posts with hashtags. Having two or three is good enough. However, when the number starts to get to double digits, then you are not using them correctly.
  • Try to include your hashtags in your post rather than at the end.

3. Use Facebook’s Chatbots to drive traffic

Getting a competitive edge in the cannabis industry is hard work, and it is even more complicated when it comes to marketing a cannabis dispensary on Facebook. However, there’s an aspect that hasn’t fully been explored, and that’s the customer service platform.

Reports show that customers want answers to their social media requests within the first four hours of posting questions. But we know that keeping up with this timeline can be draining, and you’ll probably be losing customers if you can’t resolve their issues on time.

Therefore, a useful tip is to consider using Facebook Messenger’s chatbots to market your cannabis dispensary and reply to customers. Quick replies imply good public relations, which means increased sales for your business.

4. Host Live Q&A Show

Another way to market your dispensary without advertising is to create a live question and answer show on Facebook. As a strategic way to catch the attention of viewers, this will be helpful to potential customers that need clarification on some aspects of cannabis and marijuana.

5. Drive engagement through daily offers and deals

Everyone loves deals and special offers. So, here’s another way to market your marijuana dispensary without having to advertise. You could use Facebook Messenger to send daily deals to followers.

The future of cannabis industry

With the industry showing lots of potentials, a lot of questions about its future have been asked. In answering these questions, several experts have voiced their opinions about where they think the industry is going, and the trends that should be expected in the future.

Allison Margolin, a medical marijuana advocate, thinks that industrial hemp will become not only an environmental force but also an international one to be reckoned with in years to come.

This supports the opinion of William McFetridge that broad legalization will lead to an increase in scientific research into other uses of cannabis. He adds that ‘stock in publicly-traded cannabis companies will become common-place in investment portfolios.

Craig McLane, the Owner of Vaped.com, agrees with these two experts, and he says, ‘marijuana will become legal in Europe and North America in the next ten years.’

He also predicts that in a few years, the business dominance of cannabis will push for a change in the existing cannabis culture.’

Read also: CBD Industry Predictions For 2020

FAQs about Marketing and Advertising Dispensaries on Facebook

Q1. Can I promote my cannabis dispensary or product on Facebook?

Promoting cannabis products is frowned upon by the Federal Drug Administration( FDA). This is because the body does not back the claims from such promotions. Therefore, you should avoid promoting your services or products on social media pages like Facebook.

Q2. Should I use an influencer for marketing my marijuana dispensary on Facebook?

You may decide to use a social media influencer for marketing your cannabis dispensary on Facebook since they know a great deal about your target audience. By partnering with an influencer, you’ll broaden your reach to include the members of your influencer. Here are tips to follow when choosing a social media influencer to market your cannabis product for you:

Don’t rush to get the big names or celebrities: Having large followership on social media is a criterion you should look out for in an influencer. However, it isn’t the only thing to focus on. Instead of these big names that have millions of followers, look for influencers that already have a target audience that already uses cannabis products.

Target influencers that understand the guidelines to follow when publishing content on social media. 

Q3. What do I do if my marketing or advertising strategy is not working?

There’s no hard and fast rule to marketing or advertising your cannabis dispensary on Facebook. So, you cannot rule out the possibility that your strategies will fail or not work as you want them to. But before it gets to this point, always make sure you test, monitor, and improve your marketing and advertising strategies regularly.

Q4. I have never advertised on Facebook before. Can I still go ahead in promoting my dispensary?

There’s no pre-requisite to advertising on Facebook. However, since you don’t have a target audience yet, you’ll have to fight off your competitors to get the loyal ones. Having an effective strategy helps.

Q5. Can I use affiliate marketing to market my dispensary on Facebook?

One of the effective ways to market cannabis products or cannabis dispensaries on Facebook is through affiliate marketing.

Q6. Should I create a Facebook Group to market my product or use my business page?

Both methods work fine. However, you may not get the organic reach you want only from your business page. Therefore, you can create a group on Facebook and populate it with relevant and quality content.

Q7. How many people will view my dispensary on Facebook?

The number of people that’ll view your cannabis dispensary depends on how efficient and effective your marketing efforts are. This number is referred to as the organic reach.

A Facebook post, on an average, has an organic reach of about 6.4% of the total likes on the page.

In conclusion

There are lots of mysteries to unravel about the cannabis industry. Although more businesses are springing up every year, the problem of reaching the target audience and making converts still lingers.

Social media pages have become the place for these businesses to broaden their reach, and Facebook has topped the list of the starting point. However, the platform has strict rules on marketing and advertising cannabis on its site. 

Facebook’s privacy policy on cannabis and marijuana is only a bump on the road, as there are ways to advertise and market marijuana dispensaries without advertising on the platform.

In this article, we’ve highlighted reasons digital marketing on Facebook is essential, as well as tips that’ll help you spread the word about your cannabis dispensary and cannabis products on the platform. This should be all you need to increase the popularity of your brand on Facebook.

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