How to Use Influencer Marketing to Grow Your Cannabis Brand
By: Anita Kilian
Cannabis acceptance is growing worldwide.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of social media platforms are off-limits because of federal restraints in the United States.
This makes marketing extraordinarily difficult for cannabis companies, even ancillary businesses. With all the traditional advertising efforts off the table, cannabis entrepreneurs have to get very creative to overcome these obstacles.
But there is one highly effective option nearly every cannabis business can use....
It’s one of the most undervalued approaches in the market. Yet it can scale your operation substantially. In fact, strategically implementing this tactic has the power to increase your brand’s reach, perception, and impact.
Read on to find out how you can use influencer marketing to grow your cannabis brand.
What is Influencer Marketing and Why Should YOU Use It?
Influencer marketing is a way of spreading your brand’s message through people (influencers) who share your product or service with their audience.
Who are influencers?
An influencer could be a blogger, an Instagram personality, a Snapchat celebrity, a YouTuber or your Facebook fan page. Essentially, influencers are a person or platform with influence on their audience.
Today the online cannabis community has evolved that there are a number of industry influencers.
For businesses, the rise of cannabis influencers has created an opportunity to market their brand to the masses outside of traditional advertising.
Influencer marketing succeeds where other channels fail because it relies on trust that the influencer has gained among his audience throughout his or her activity.
More importantly, this type of marketing can be very cost-effective. Partnering with influencers can put your brand on blast for a fraction of the cost of other advertising mediums. An authentic message from the right influencer is one of the most powerful tactics to grow your cannabis brand.
That’s not all...
Statistics prove that influencer marketing comes with a great potential for success. In fact, 71% of all consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference.
Imagine the impact even one campaign with the right influencer could have for your brand.
What Types of Influencers should You Work With?
There are many types of influencers your cannabis brand could work with.
Deciding what influencer will bring the most value depends on your business and goals.
The main thing you need to consider is your audience along with an influencer’s level of engagement. A large following is a sign of influencer. However, what’s more important is how much of that following is actually interacting with them.
A few questions to consider:
- What kind of content do they post?
- Who are their followers and where are they located?
- How many likes are they getting?
- Are people commenting on their posts?
- How old is their account?
Answering these questions will help you better determine whether or not an influencer is right for your brand.
Keep in mind that influencer marketing does not mean you're limited to huge brands with millions of followers. Collaborating with micro influencers can actually be a better move for most cannabis businesses.
Who are micro influencers?
Micro influencers typically have a small but extremely loyal and engaged audience. There is no set number that makes someone a micro influencer. You will find micro influencers with hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of followers.
Rather, what makes someone a micro influencer is their impact within a niche.
If you're thinking we're talking about cannabis influencers here we are!
But it goes beyond that....
Even within cannabis, there are many different sides of the industry – from cultivation to culinary. Regardless of what type of cannabis business you're operating, there is a relevant micro influencer.
A big advantage of working with micro influencers is that you’re able to target a very specific demographic. Hiring a micro influencers also tends to be more cost-effective than working with influencers like A-list celebrities or stars. And if you're a bootstrapped entrepreneur, the upside is clear.
It's important to mention though that micro cannabis influencers are not the only option.
While working with industry influencers is a wise move, you do not have to stay within the confines of the cannabis bubble. There are other influencers which could bring a huge amount of value to your audience.
In fact, working with influencers outside of the cannabis industry can help you tap into new markets.
However, how successful or realistic this is will largely depend on your business. For businesses who are directly operating with the plant, it may be more challenging to get influencers who are not in the cannabis space to work with you.
Regardless, the key takeaway is to determine your objectives from the outset. This will help you better assess an influencer's potential value to your audience and brand.
How to Make your influencer marketing campaign a success
Get your cannabis brand in front of the right audience.
In order for influencer marketing to be effective, you need to find the right collaboration. Not every influencer will be relevant to your business.
Here are a few quick tips to help make your next influencer marketing campaign a success:
- Define clear goals before collaborating (What are you trying to achieve – more exposure, followers, traffic, leads, sales, etc. Identify clear and realistic goals.)
- Research influencers in and outside of the industry (Do not limit yourself to exclusively cannabis influencers. Make strategic partnerships in and outside of the industry.)
- Heavily vet influencers before pitching (Make sure their following is authentic and relevant to your objectives.)
- Allow influencers to have creative freedom with content (Remember: they know their audience best.)
- Be transparent about the promotion (You need to disclaim that it is a sponsored post.)
Collaborating with influencers can take your cannabis brand to the next level.
Just be sure to do your homework first. The goal is to work with the right influencer not every influencer. Use these tips to begin leveraging influencer marketing for your cannabis business.
Are you interested in working with influencers? If so, what is your number one question about influencer marketing?
Author: Anita Kilian
Anita Kilian is a free spirit located in Warsaw, Poland. For the past two years, she's been delivering the content for numerous medical marijuana dispensaries, specialist cannabis blogs, and high-authority commercial websites. She dreams of moving to the US or Canada to fully cherish the beauty of legal marijuana and business opportunities of running her own cannabis brand.