THE CHALLENGES OF SOCIAL MEDIAIt is an ever-evolving landscape. Social media control has long been a tiresome road for cannabis and hemp companies because of severe regulations. The social media giants’ “Community Guidelines” have a stranglehold on cannabis and hemp businesses, limiting and at times even restricting their reach and marketing abilities.
Marketers are expected to strengthen their brand while also having to walk a fine-line of directions and rules so that their posts and accounts don’t get deleted or even banned. Every company hopes to avoid the dreaded ‘shadowban’ which denotes to when Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok curbs posts from your followers and hides your posts from performing on hashtags. Shadowbanning drastically decreases your page’s capability to be exposed to new followers. It’s the algorithm slapping you on the wrist. The ultimate worst case scenario is having a post deleted for going against Community Guidelines and if it happens enough times, you run the risk of having your profile deleted all together. In attempts to reduce the unlicensed marketplace, social media platforms have strict guidelines against cannabis. It doesn’t matter if you are fully legal, undertaking everything with compliancy — they have AI that discriminates against cannabis.
Great risk - great reward, right? If you are able to grow a steady following on these platforms using some of these professional guideposts, then you will have a limitless direct-to-consumer digital platform in your pocket. Here are some important tips for cannabis entrepreneurs:
  1. Focus on education:
    While this could prove frustrating for some, adhering to the rules is essential. Authorised publications that report on cannabis are exceptions to the rule because of their informative take on the subject.. If you’re marketing on social media accounts for a hemp or cannabis company, direct your content towards ethically educating people about effects, interactions, and even the legalities of the product. Several sources said keeping sales out of content is essential. Unlike many other industries, cannabis brands are recommended to use social media as a lifestyle brand, using their channels to start the conversation with followers rather than generate sales.

  2. Avoid the plant:
    Photographs of the cannabis plant itself are the more than likely going to be flagged, resulting in deletion or shadowban. AI technology has been looking for flower, nugs, or grows. In 2019, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg infamously exhibited his AI photo scanning system by displaying a picture of broccoli versus cannabis. Facebook’s AI could zero-in on and flag the cannabis photo, removing it and shadowbanning the account.

  3. Hop on social media trends:
    If you see a trend sweeping TikTok or Instagram, translate it to cannabis in an accessible way. Cannabis doesn’t need to be pictured in order to be a part of the larger discussion. It’s impossible to predict what will go viral, but directing to add your voice to a trend means that the content could be viewed by more users. Your reach is oftentimes inexplicably high when you knock a trend out of the park or use trending audio. These include certain songs, audio clips from film or television, transitions, slow-mo walks, or even Jurassic Park. Trends are constantly creative.

  4. Share what’s unique about your brand:
    Restraints aside, creating content is fun because legal cannabis is still fresh and unique to the global marketplace. It is a fresh industry. It’s a tough market but at least it is quite interesting. In order to really see development on social media, focus in on what makes your brand unique in its own special way.
Discreet, understated, and unique is really what takes off on social media. Step back and think big picture.

Trailblazing Partners - Issue 6


Foreword - Issue 6


Issue 6 - Cover

Issue 6 - Cultivation