Even though cannabis has been Federally legal in Canada for nearly four years, and it’s legal to some degree across the US and UK, cannabis companies have a difficult time advertising and building a social presence online.
Every social media site online has restrictions and tight guidelines that cannabis companies have to follow. When those guidelines are not met, their social accounts are taken down.
This results in losing your following and all the content you have created.
It’s quite common for cannabis companies to have to create new social media accounts more than once.
Talk about frustrating.
Social sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter tend to pick and choose which cannabis companies stay and which ones get shadow-banned or even deactivated.
There are serious inconsistencies when it comes to building an online presence for cannabis companies.
Fortunately there are social networks online dedicated specifically to the cannabis space.
Let’s take a look at the top five questions surrounding cannabis and advertising online.
Can Cannabis Companies Advertise Online?
The short answer is yes- if you dare.
The largest search engine (Google) and biggest social media platform (Facebook) prohibit cannabis content.
For craft companies with a limited marketing budget, it’s a tough hurdle to jump over.
With major inconsistencies and the fact cannabis is not federally legal in the US or UK, it can be quite difficult to build an online presence.
Today, the most effective way cannabis companies to advertise online is through organic search results and SEO.
SEO for the cannabis industry takes time to implement and even longer to see results.
However, it is the most effective way to promote cannabis products and build a sustainable online presence.
There are ways to rank cannabis content effectively. The first thing you’ll need is someone like me- an expert cannabis writer.
Just because you can’t do paid ads on Facebook or Instagram, doesn’t mean you have to avoid the platforms altogether.
Can I Run Google Ads for Cannabis Products?
That is a big ole’ nope! You cannot run Google Ads for cannabis products. According to Google’s advertising policies they do not endorse or allow the solicitation of dangerous goods or services.
Unfortunately, Google considers cannabis to be a dangerous product falling under the recreational drugs section, which means running paid ads is a no-go.
If you violate the policy, Google will happily shut down your Google Ads account leaving you with a very little chance of getting it back.
Fortunately, through implementing a solid SEO strategy for your cannabis brand or product, there are ways to enhance your presence on the search engine.
Creating educational and informative cannabis content seems to be permissible on both search engines and social media platforms.
Example: a post about a bong or a pipe would be a no-go, but an article explaining how a bong or a pipe works is less likely to get flagged.
Can Cannabis Companies Advertise on Facebook?
According to Facebook’s advertising policy, cannabis falls under the unsafe substances heading, which means content linked to either recreational or medical cannabis is prohibited.
You cannot run a paid ad on Facebook that depicts the use of cannabis, smoking accessories, or pictures of cannabis.
However, educational content and groups seem to be allowed. There are hundreds of cannabis-friendly pages and groups on Facebook, but they are constantly at risk of being shut down.
That being said, hemp products with no THC and topical products like lotions seem to be okay to promote.
Again, building an online presence for your cannabis business comes down to a solid SEO strategy by creating educational and informative content.
Cannabis Related Content You Should Post on Facebook:
- Statistics, data, reports
- Educational and informative content
- Post pictures of products without implying they are for sale
Cannabis Related Content You Shouldn’t Post on Facebook:
- Making medical claims
- Anything that depicts the sale of cannabis
- How to sell, grow, or consume cannabis
Can You Post Pictures of Cannabis on Instagram?
Yes you can, but your content must be thoughtful and err on the educational side.
According to Instagram’s policy on cannabis, they do not allow you to use the platform to promote the sale of cannabis.
You also cannot include any contact information on your business account.
What Instagram does allow is adding a link in your bio.
Getting shadowbanned means your post’s interactions and reach are restricted, which makes it hard for users on the platform to discover you.
Even worse than getting shadowbanned is having your Instagram account deactivated. Many cannabis companies have to start all over by creating a new account.
Be wary about the tone of your posts.
Educational and informative posts that talk about statistics and data seem to do alright with limited issues.
According to Forbes, there are ways to avoid being shadowbanned.
Sharing educational content and hopping on the latest trends are two ways you can post cannabis-related content on Instagram!
What are Cannabis Business Social Networks?
With tight restrictions and policies surrounding cannabis on mainstream social websites, the emergence of cannabis business social networks was inevitable.
These sites act like typical social sites, but they are for cannabis enthusiasts and cannabis businesses.
Marketing your business, advertising products, and building an online presence by using cannabis social networks is an easy way to interact with your target audience.
There are several cannabis social networks that have millions of users- and the numbers grow everyday.
About the author: Heather Burton
Heather lives with her husband and two children in beautiful British Columbia. Her passion has always been to enhance the lives of others by helping them reach their business goals.
Content management is her specialty, and writing is what she does best. Working specifically in the cannabis market, Heather strives to help dispensaries, patients, doctors, manufacturers and recreational users by giving them the voice they need. When she is not writing, you can find her anywhere outdoors and away from the screen.