If you’re looking to boost your cannabis presence, doing so on social media is risky. This is not to say it’s prohibited though. Plenty of cannabis brands have been able to grow and become verified on social media.
You just need to know the ins and outs of cannabis and compliance on social media. Unfortunately, the rules aren’t what anyone would call “clear cut.”
With strict federal guidelines STILL in place in the United States regarding cannabis, social media platforms and even Google AdWords don’t want to deal with the hassles involved with promoting an illegal substance.
So what’s a cannabis company to do?
Confusing Rules for Cannabis and Compliance on Social Media
Here’s the deal. It’s 2021. Social media cannot be overlooked as a necessary component to any cannabis marketing strategy. But maintaining cannabis brand compliance on social media can be a first-rate clusterf*ck.
The basic guidelines dictate that you cannot sell products or consume marijuana on social media. You also can’t use imagery that doesn’t belong to you (which, come on, isn’t unique to cannabis). Unfortunately, there’s just too much room for ambiguity in all of this.
For example, you CAN show marijuana. You just can’t show your buddy smoking a big doobie or try to sell the strain you’re showcasing. Some folks have attempted to get around this by showing a cannabis product, then give a link to their website where consumers can purchase it.
Nope. Can’t do that either.
Of course, there are always examples of those doing their damnedest to stay within the parameters (no matter how ambiguous) and still getting penalized while flagrant cannabis outlaws continue to ride. Which is always the way.
Maria Brasco, a social media manager who handles several cannabis clients for MATTIO Communications, told High Times, “Accounts that err on the side of caution are being penalized, while their industry colleagues are blatantly ignoring the rules, and nothing happens.”
Yep, there seems to be an expansive and seemingly unnavigable grey area. So if you have difficulty keeping your finger on the unpredictable pulse of these shadowy rules, you should enlist the services of cannabis marketing experts.
Repercussions for Non-Compliance
Those guilty of non-compliance – whether innocently or intentionally – can face severe punishment.
A social media platform can choose to suspend a cannabis brand’s account for up to 90 days, depending on the platform. This can have a devastating effect on attempts to build a presence. Of course, it’s not as bad as account deletion – which is also a possible repercussion.
Then there’s shadowbanning.
Shadowbanning could easily fall into the category of science fiction – though it’s very real and VERY problematic. Shadowbanning has a hazy realm-like presence that allows for account owners to continue to post, but the content is effectively removed from communal engagement and activity.
That means precious few eyes will fall onto the posted content, as it’s suppressed and doesn’t allow for account owners to increase the number of impressions.
Social media platforms have not confirmed that this is happening, but they haven’t denied it either. Thus, shadowbans are generally an accepted form of punishment that can last for 2-6 weeks and puts the kibosh on engagement and follower growth.
And these can be brand killers.
Turn to the Experts
Most cannabis business owners are already so inundated with following myriad rules and regulations, they find it helpful to hire marketing professionals to handle the cannabis and compliance on social media side of things.
So if you want to do the same, don’t hesitate to contact us. As cannabis marketing experts, we’ll make sure you establish social media presence without the repercussions.