As of 2021, it is estimated that there are over one billion Instagram users and the platform’s popularity is only expected to grow. What that means for cannabis dispensaries, is that there are a lot of potential customers hanging out on that platform. It’s easy to see why Instagram is the cannabis industry’s favorite social media platform by far. Instagram is free to use and allows your customers to choose to follow you. In other words, your followers actually want to learn more about your new products, promotions, and what goes on behind the scenes. Getting your Instagram presence in tiptop shape before 4/20 is a great way to garner a bit of extra buzz around your dispensary in time for the greenest day of the year. So let’s look at how to use Instagram to boost your cannabis dispensary.
Play By The Rules
Before we dive into how to use Instagram to your advantage, we need to cover some ground rules first. As a cannabis business, you’re going to need to watch where you step on Instagram. According to Instagram’s community guidelines, the social media network “doesn’t allow people or organizations to use the platform to advertise or sell marijuana, regardless of the seller’s state or country.” This means, you can’t directly advertise the sale of cannabis on Instagram. Note the keyword “sale.” This is important, because cannabis businesses (like us) use Instagram to spread general awareness of their products or services, rather than solicit a sale directly. Nevertheless, anyone posting about cannabis on Instagram in general runs the very real risk of having their account shut down.
The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time and energy building an Instagram following only to lose all your progress. This helpful article from Mugglehead Magazine goes into greater detail about what cannabis dispensaries can and can’t do on Instagram to keep their account in good standing.
Reach a Local Audience
When posting and engaging on Instagram, use features like hashtags and geotagging to your advantage. Chances are, you want to attract a lot of local potential clientele. By tagging your posts with your location and hashtags that reference your location, you’re more likely to connect with users in your area. You’ll want to make it easy for your customers to find you, so in your bio make sure to include any relevant information about your location, store hours, and how to contact you.
While adding the price of a product to your posts is generally a fast way to get your content flagged, you may be able to get away with sharing new in-store promotions. Make sure your content doesn’t appear like you’re trying to sell products through the app. Share details of your latest sales and promotions and let your followers know how they can contact you to learn more.
Steal Competitors’ Followers
This tip isn’t as nefarious as it sounds and it can be very effective. One of the best ways to target your key demographic on Instagram is to go after your competitors’ followers. Make a list of your top competitors who have an Instagram account. Then check out who is following them and follow their followers or engage with their recent posts. They may just give you a follow back now that you’ve grabbed their attention.
Post User Generated Content
User generated content (UGC) is a great way to show your customers a little love and to get cool content for free. If someone posts about your dispensary, ask them if you can re-share your post. Sharing UGC can help boost brand loyalty with your customers and you’ll be able to show off some customer love and freshen up your feed at the same time.
Now that you know how to use Instagram to boost your cannabis dispensary, it’s time to plan how to give your dispensary a leg up in time for 4/20.