Owners in the cannabis space are no strangers to hurdles when it comes to developing a viable business. Still, the challenges associated with cannabis social media marketing are a necessary evil to understand and overcome. Thankfully, you have options for marketing your dispensary.
While you can use some social media marketing to promote your dispensary, many platforms will block or delete posts with cannabis imagery and language, deeming it an illegal substance. Even worse, some will shadowban your account without you even knowing your content is being negatively impacted. As of today, Twitch, Snapchat, Tumbler, and Twitter are a few of the first major social media platforms to allow cannabis marketing.
This article will take an in-depth look at cannabis social media marketing. We’ll dive into the platforms that allow cannabis advertising and content (and any limitations that the platform enforces) vs. those that do not.
According to a study produced by the Journal of Cannabis Research, the demographic with the highest cannabis use is adults between the ages of 18 and 25. And according to the Distribution of Leading Social Media Platform Users in the US by age group, this same age group utilizes social media platforms in this order of preference:
Let’s take a closer look at each social media platform and their current regulations.
As the #1 social media platform for the demographic with the most cannabis consumers, Twitch understands the need for marketing to a more adult-oriented audience. Today, Twitch allows cannabis marketing by marking materials for mature audiences. They also ask viewers to verify their ages and use ESRB ratings.
Snapchat’s policy explicitly states that it allows “limited ads for cannabis, CBD, and related products.” Restrictions surrounding cannabis social media marketing on Snapchat require brands to target users over 18 years old and there cannot be THC products in ads.
Although TikTok’s advertising policy states that “hemp products and topical CBD products” are allowed to be advertised and promoted on the platform, it’s still a bit of a gray area. Without much detail in the policy, it’s recommended to steer clear of advertising on TikTok because the platform has been known to ban ads and shadowban accounts.
According to Tumblr’s global advertising policy, cannabis content is restricted but not prohibited or promoted. You can find more information about the regulations of cannabis content on Tumblr through its policy, but most notably, it includes both cannabis and cannabis-adjacent products.
There is an important distinction between Reddit’s Canada and U.S. advertising policy when it comes to cannabis social media marketing. To specify, Reddit in Canada allows for all cannabis products.
Alternatively, in the U.S., Reddit only allows cannabis social media marketing for non-ingestible and topical hemp-derived CBD products, which is federally legal in the country. However, advertisers may not target states where topical CBD products remain illegal (Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota).
Meta Platforms, Inc., more commonly referred to as Meta, owns both Instagram and Facebook. Meta’s Hemp and Related Products Advertising Policy explicitly states that it does not allow any form of ads or promotion for CBD or THC products.
As of February 2023, the U.S. Twitter ad policy has approved cannabis social media marketing. There are, of course, stipulations businesses must follow, primarily avoiding targeting customers under the age of 21.
Advertisers must also be pre-authorized by Twitter and licensed by the appropriate authorities. Additionally, products and services may only be targeted to jurisdictions in which advertisers have online licensing.
In YouTube’s Community Guidelines, drugs are prohibited from paid advertising promotions, which include cannabis products. However, ways around these limitations might be creating content that does not promote the sale of cannabis products.
Anything that isn’t directly promoting cannabis usage is fine to be posted on YouTube under the new Community Guidelines. That means making videos about how products are made or the benefits of a product. Just make sure you are creating educational content rooted in facts to avoid any issues.
Advertising Guidelines for Pinterest state that CBD products or similar compounds cannot be advertised on the platform. But, the fine print explicitly states that in the U.S., ads for “topical hemp seed oil products” with negligible amounts of THC are allowed, as long as they do not make any medicinal or therapeutic claims.
Additionally, as long as advertisers abide by laws and regulations, Pinterest will also allow brand and informational content about CBD and hemp products.
Unlike many other platforms, LinkedIn does not actively block cannabis businesses or remove cannabis content. Although the platform is considered cannabis friendly, there is still the possibility of an ad getting denied. In hopes of getting your ads approved, avoid using images that contain cannabis or cannabis-related products.
Now that you have a more thorough understanding of cannabis social media marketing, it’s clear that you should prioritize Twitch, Snapchat, Tumblr, Reddit, and Twitter. Although navigating cannabis social media can feel challenging at times, you can rely on data to guide you. There are also endless cannabis business social networks that you can check out in the meantime.
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