Top 3 Cannabis Friendly Social Media Sites
Published on 1/31/22
The Internet and cannabis have a long but not-always-friendly relationship. In the earliest days of the web, sites that bought or sold seeds, plants, and cannabis products were able to exist with little or no oversight, given the lack of content laws in place and the wide variety of domains available. As the web grew up, cannabis consumption became more mainstream and bots advertised it on message boards or early social media platforms. Check out the defunct pages of celebrities on MySpace to see the remnants of their spam, boasting about the most potent strains you could smoke.
Given the federal illegality of cannabis, major companies like Facebook or Twitter are not willing to come within a mile of promoting cannabis content themselves, despite many dispensaries and cannabis business social network platforms being crucial for their operations. Social media marketing is a valuable way for dispensaries to sell their products, but not if the marketing violates social media rules. What are the guidelines for cannabis content on social media sites, some cannabis-friendly social media platforms, and how can users avoid bans for cannabis-related posts if they are new to the entire experience?
Many cannabis companies face restrictions on how and where they can advertise their services. Want to get a great ounce of kush but don't know where to go? The usual starting point is a Google search, but if Google restricts cannabis advertising, a dispensary right next door might not show up. This is also something that some businesses or content creators might not even know about. For a small dispensary, social media marketing is crucial: it might be the one place where advertising is inexpensive, effective, and not subject to restrictions. However, it might also be ineffective if a social media platform algorithm decides to shut it down.
Shutting it down but not telling the owner that it is shut down is part of a larger policing mechanism known as shadow banning in social media. What is shadow banning? Simply put, it is when the algorithm determines the content you are putting out for marketing purposes might be offensive to a user. Facebook didn't grow rich by showing people ads they don't like, and if most people don't like a cannabis ad, the ad creator may get shadow banned. This has happened to many cannabis industries, leading to them posting content that nobody ends up seeing, a counter-productive practice. You can run a shadow ban test quickly by creating a dummy account and checking to see if the particular content appears.
Rules & Regulations
As the largest social media platform, Facebook is the most aggressive at removing content, shadow banning, and following local policies. To get shadow banned on Facebook is not hard to do and may require nothing more than typing "marijuana" in a promotional post for your business. Some users get around this ban by euphemisms for cannabis, such as trees or flowers, and create community groups where everyone uses this sort of password to communicate about their hobby.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, follows similar policies. Since Instagram is about picture hosting, it is possible for a shadow banned Instagram account to get dinged by a picture that is or strongly resembles cannabis. Nevertheless, many major cannabis retailers rely on Instagram to market images of new buds or new products, meaning they must walk a careful line.
Twitter has some of the most lenient community policies, and users can post words like "bong" or "cannabis" without fear of being shadow banned. This is because Twitter's algorithm responds to the size of a user's following more aggressively than other platforms, making it more likely to show up in your feed if it is popular, regardless of the topic. Many dispensaries rely on Twitter more than anything else since it is easiest to sign up and avoid a ban. At the same time, more Twitter users engage with brands than followers compared to other social networks.
Puff, Pass, Post
Are there any cannabis-friendly social media platforms for enthusiasts to flock to? The short answer is yes: 420 social network pages like WeedLife make no secret about their function or the fanbase. BudHubz is another popular platform where users share information on everything from growing their own strains to trying new types to chemical breakdowns of cannabis plants. Finally, LeafWire is a cannabis business social media platform attempting to leverage professional relations to help businesses in the industry grow, making it more valuable for business-to-business marketing rather than business-to-customer marketing.
Do you participate in cannabis-specific social media? How have you portrayed or hidden cannabis use on current social media platforms? Let us know in the comments below!