To my friends, colleagues and influencers in the cannabis and hemp space, it’s time for some real talk about your social media profiles: Your Instagram game needs some work.
And sure, Twitter’s great for following fast-moving policy conversations and the ever-expanding international news cycle, but you’re likely spending too much time on the platform. Then there’s Facebook; are you actually using the robust social channel strategically, or are you just posting blindly?
That’s the problem with the business side of social media, regardless of the industry. Because you have a Facebook account, and because you post philosophical questions and political articles and cat videos and industry-specific breaking news on your personal Facebook feed, you feel as if you’re internet-savvy enough to run a Facebook profile for your business or launch a cannabis career online.
The thing is, it doesn’t translate.
We’ve moved beyond the hand-wringing era of professionals decrying the construct of a social media coordinator position — “I could do that!” — and now, an experienced and educated social lead might be among the highest-paid marketing team members.
An effective social media presence goes well beyond the post and “link in bio.” I know, I know — many of you are hustling and doing it yourself, and props to your dedication! But whether you’re the DIY CEO running the business and the social game or the influencer looking to expand your authentic connections, here are three easy tweaks — mostly focusing on Instagram since it’s generally the most important channel for cannabis and hemp businesses and influencers — to elevate your social media program.
There are, of course, some basic rules of social media. They change often, and it’s rare that everyone agrees on anything. And yet, most professionals generally abide by certain standards and social mores. Including these:
How often should I post? On Instagram, I recommend four to six posts per week, thoughtfully spaced out.
Hashtags? Yes, especially when you can meaningfully tie into a trending tag.
Keywords? Equally important! Search functionality on social channels behaves just like Google does.
Most important non-IG channel? It depends, but in these industries, Facebook is the answer — though I’d recommend exploring the social network to recognize what might work best for your brand.
Should I ask questions in my posts? Engagement is the single most important element of modern social media, so yes, though be thoughtful about it. (More on this in a minute.)
And what about calls to action? Why not? Don’t be afraid to sell or drive traffic via your social channels, though you should keep a majority of your posts non-promotional.
Diversify content? Most definitely, which brings us to…
Yes, you should absolutely diversify the content in your IG feeds.
Studies have consistently shown that photos are the most popular content you can post, but those same studies show that fans and followers appreciate a variety of visual content — from branded videos to relevant screengrabs to aesthetically aligned drawings to applicable memes to brand-friendly shared content (with attribution) and graphics created specifically for your social channels.
In short, switch it up, and make it pretty.
Second verse, same as the first: Engagement is the single most important element of modern social media.
What is engagement? It’s engaging with your friends, answering their questions in the comments and stories. It’s liking your fans’ feedback, hearting their kind words. It’s sharing your followers’ photos and mentions, especially as they’re interacting with your professional and individual brands.
Ask yourself this important question: Do you treat your IG and other social channels like the communities they are?
If your neighbor knocks on your door and you never answer? If your bestie calls and calls and you never pick up? If your buddy texts you, then texts again, and then texts a single attention-grabbing question mark — and you don’t text back? Well, you’re not being a good neighbor/bestie/buddy, are you?
The same goes for your most trafficked social channels. If I keep dropping affectionate comments on your ish and you keep ignoring me, I’ll take the hint — and engage elsewhere. And as I mentioned before, this is where a scheduling tool can come in especially handy. The more you schedule your content, the more free time you have for engagement.
TELL US, who runs your favorite Instagram account?
Originally published in Issue 37 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE