Marijuana Marketing: How to Utilize Cannabis Influencers
Published on 1/13/21
If you represent a cannabis business, you probably know how difficult it can be to advertise your company. Dispensaries and other cannabis businesses are unable to purchase ads, so it's important to explore all your available options and get creative. One of the best ways to promote your business is through social media channels and by utilizing cannabis influencers. The world of social media is always changing and can often be confusing and intimidating for those unfamiliar with it. Fortunately, we've created this guide for better understanding cannabis marketing and the world of social media influencers.
What is a Social Influencer?
A social influencer is a high-profile individual with a large, dedicated following on social media. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are the big four, but you can also reach out to marijuana bloggers and other alternative platform influencers. Influencer marketing is a strategy that utilizes an influencer's following to promote specific brands. Because followers place a lot of trust and cultural stock into an influencer's opinion or lifestyle, they consider the brands that said influencers promote.
Types of Influencers
The size of their following is what defines an influencer most. There are two primary types of influencers: macro and micro.
A macro-influencer generally has upward of 1 million or more followers - when you use a macro-influencer to promote your brand, millions will notice. The upside of macro-influencers is mass exposure, but they generally have a broader base of followers (making it harder to convert views into sales). Cannabis brands looking for wider brand exposure should look to specific influencers to make this work. Wiz Khalifa, Seth Rogen and Big Mike are a few macro cannabis influencers that would provide massive exposure to a larger cannabis-friendly audience.
Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have fewer followers with a more specific demographic. With somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, these influencers can reach a more defined group of people with similar interests. They are also more likely to have region-specific audiences. Because of this, micro-influencers are often the best option for local dispensaries. A more specific audience generally means a higher conversion rate. A few notable micro weed influencers are HappyTokes, That High Couple and The Mommy Jane.
Why Social Influencers are Important to Cannabis Brands
Social influencers are a great marketing tactic for any business, but it's especially relevant to cannabis businesses because of the answer to this question: "Can cannabis companies advertise on Facebook?" The answer is, unfortunately, no. Cannabis companies can have business pages and post on their own wall (the same goes for Instagram and other social media sites), but they cannot advertise in a traditional sense. This is where social influencers come into play. Social influencers have key sets of followers that see them as reputable sources. When the right influencer promotes your cannabis brand, you get prime exposure that you won't get anywhere else. It's legal, within the guidelines of allowed social media practices, and can be very successful.
How to Choose an Influencer
Followers and Engagement
First and foremost, you need to decide what type of influencer is right for your cannabis marketing strategy. Answer these questions when considering cannabis influencers:
- What is your budget?
- Do you want exposure or conversions?
- What social media platforms do you want to promote on?
- How well-known is your brand?
The more followers an influencer has, the more they will cost (here's a breakdown of average costs by follower count). A more defined, specific group of followers is more likely to visit your website or store and purchase your product (conversions), whereas a larger, broader audience will instead provide more brand awareness (exposure). You should also consider where you want to promote yourself. You can contact social media personalities, or you can also contact marijuana bloggers for a different audience.
The larger and more well-known brand is, the more likely a popular influencer is to trust and promote your product. Because they are likely more affordable, easier to contact and directly connected to your customer base, we suggest first pitching to local cannabis influencers.
Personal Brand Alignment
You should also be mindful of your brand and how you want others to view it. Consider your ideals, your message, your target audience, and the personalities you'd be comfortable associating with. When you use an influencer, their other content will reflect on your brand. Before you make a pitch, conduct research to make sure the influencer is the sort of person you want to associate with.
How to Create an Influencer Pitch
There are a few different ways to reach out to influencers. First, check if they have a website and look for contact information - if working with established influencers, they will probably have a protocol you can easily follow. If they are less established micro-influencers that don't have a website or obvious contact protocol, private message them on the platform you want them to promote you on.
Once you decide how you're going to contact an influencer, come up with your pitch by following these steps:
- Introduce yourself, your brand, and how your company's promotion can benefit the influencer and their cannabis social network.
- Focus on the quality of your company and highlight how the influencer's own social brand is in line with your messaging.
- Explain, in detail, what you want the promotion to consist of and look like.
- Leave room for creative liberties on the influencer's end. Give details about what you want, but make sure the influencer knows it can be a collaborative process.
- Create deadlines and build a sense of urgency. This will give your pitch confidence while also holding the influencer accountable for their side of the partnership.
- Highlight what you will provide the influencer. There are several things you can offer:
- Offer product and send it to them for the promotion
- Offer discounts for promoting your brand
- Offer commission if the promotion increases your sales
- Reread your pitch for grammar and specificity. Also, make sure it sounds friendly and respectful.
If and when the influencer responds, make sure to message back in a timely manner and remain professional throughout the entire process. After that, it's up to you to decide how you want the promotion to look and where you want to take your brand next!
Do you have weed influencers you've successfully used in the past or other marijuana marketing strategies to suggest? Let us know and comment below!