Social Media marketing has always been tough for cannabis companies. Facebook, and Instagram, who’s owned by Facebook, has routinely been shutting down accounts posting material it deems as promoting the sale of marijuana, regardless of the state it’s sold in. Sometimes years of built-up audiences are wiped out overnight, leaving cannabis companies without access to their fans and clients. What’s worse, the closures seem to be random, leaving some companies thriving while competitors lose all social presence.
The main issues the social media giants cite in their community standards revolves around the sale or promotion of cannabis-related material. But some companies that don’t even offer product for sale are getting shut down as well, and companies are growing increasingly frustrated with the threats to years of marketing efforts to grow their social media presence.
To combat these threats, many companies have taken to petitioning Facebook and Instagram for change and asking for appeals to reinstate their accounts. It seems as though the best options for keeping companies off the community standards radar is to remove images of flower, not promote any sales, open several accounts, and/or remove the word “dispensary” from an account.
But for an industry that’s expected to grow to over $20 billion in sales by 2020, having their social media presence threatened, and missing out on social media marketing is, well, criminal. To address this need, a new group of social networks has cropped up to help cannabis companies, and users, stay connected.
MassRoots is a cannabis-based social media network that allows users to create profiles, share media and images, and advertise. With over 900,000 users as of May 2016, it reigns supreme in the cannabis-related social media world. Ironically, they too fell prey to the ‘community standards’ and lost their instagram account in January, 2016, which at the time had over 300k followers, even though they sell no cannabis-related material at all.
Duby, which functions like Instagram, allows users to post images, video and text to engage with each other. User-driven content can be shared (“passing the duby”) thereby increasing a user’s influence on the site. Social High, who touts itself to be the Facebook for cannabis users, is gaining traction as well, with a base of users in 50 countries, says CEO Scott Bettano.
Finally Stonerr, a video platform that says it allows users to upload, search and share cannabis-related content such as documentaries, original programs, recipes, cannabis education, music and product reviews, is rapidly growing its user base as well, calling itself the “Netflix for Cannabis”, with material being shown on Roku, and other platforms.
While the biggest social media channels are blocking many of the cannabis companies from continuing their user engagement, the good news is there are multiple other channels to market cannabis-related material. Even better, these ‘420’ social media channels are catering to the specific fans, and users, of the product, increasing the likelihood of engagement, and ultimately, sales.