McClatchy Jul 14, 2023 12:30:00 PM

How Influencers are a Key Part of Cannabis Marketing


With almost five million people on social media globally, influencer marketing is showing no signs of slowing, and it is continuing to gain traction. Accounts with large followings are hawking everything from their "favorite" cosmetics to hair accessories, clothes, shoes, snacks, and more. The influence of social media is expansive and varied. Viral TikTok videos are even resurrecting interest in older songs. 

Because of advertising restrictions, those in the cannabis industry may think they can't leverage the potential huge sales and brand recognition boost influencers can give their products. They may not be aware that influencer marketing is a viable method for cannabis marketing that can help work around the product's legal gray area. Influencers can and do have an important role in cannabis marketing.  


Keep reading to learn how to advertise cannabis products despite the challenges. 

Influencers Help Workaround Legal Limitations  

The sale and use of cannabis are legal in 21 states (so far), whereas 38 states legalized medical use. However, its inconsistent status across the country puts marketers in a pinch. To date, all the major social media sites have banned paid promotional ads for businesses in the cannabis industry. Fortunately, there is no such restriction on personal posts as long as they don't offer direct sales. This omission benefits the cannabis industry by introducing a legal gray area that influencer marketing can fill. 

This undefined territory is one of the critical reasons influencers have value in cannabis marketing. They can show your product and discuss its uses and benefits in a way that your company is prohibited from doing directly. It is critical that you have an open dialogue about regulations to ensure they don't overstep any boundaries. That protects you and the influencer from getting ensnared in the legal complexities of cannabis influencer marketing.   

How to Partner with Cannabis Influencers  

Selecting the ideal influencer for your products is much like hiring an employee or contractor. You want to ensure the match is a good fit culturally and that they have the requirements or skills you need for the job. For influencers, that could be dependent on what audience you want to reach or how much you want to spend. Though commonly, the larger the following, the higher the fee. The good news is that you don't always need the largest audience – just the most relevant one.  

Find Relevant Influencers  

To reach people most likely interested in cannabis products, you want to find people who make videos or blogs about cannabis. It doesn't have to be on the scale of Snoop Dog or Chelsea Handler extolling the virtues of smoking. It could be as simple as leveraging someone who runs a cannabis cooking blog. They provide trusted resources for people who use cannabis for medical or culinary purposes. Their say can sway their readers if they discuss how it helps their muscles feel better or design recipes using your products.  


Develop a Strategy to Work with Them  

As with any marketing campaign, you need a good strategy. Your campaign strategy helps you work and collaborate with the influencer within the guidelines and with your goals in mind. Remember, you are buying their following, influence, and credibility, so use it to its full advantage.  

Some of the techniques you can use that fall into that gray area are: 

  • Sponsor content featuring a short message from the influencer. 
  • Have the influencer review your product. 
  • Let the influencer interact with your product themselves and rely on their ability to speak with your shared audience.  
  • Create native ads on their blog or website to show your collaboration. 

Find Ways to Track Results  

Now that you have your strategy, you must find a way to track progress and measure results. You can leverage some of the tried-and-true techniques companies use to run promotional ads on multiple platforms, such as unique branded links. That method lets you track the site traffic to know which influencer brings the most significant response. Once those customers enter your database, you can send them links or promotions to further determine how many follow through with purchases and engage your brand. 

Social Media Influencers Help Advertise Cannabis Products 

Until cannabis is nationally legalized or social media companies remove the advertising restrictions, cannabis influencer marketing is the best way to navigate that hazy legal gray area to get your brand and products in front of audiences interested in what you have to offer. However, it takes understanding what you can and can't do to keep you and your influencer out of hot water. 

That's where McClatchy can help. As the second-largest media company in the country, they have the influence, expertise, and specific experience you need to attract new business for your cannabis company while increasing your brand awareness and digital presence. Influencer marketing can be a key area of support that aids your other marketing tactics, which must be more vague to navigate the industry’s legal complexities. Launching this campaign through their direct access to publisher inventory can nurture and provide resources for your burgeoning customer base, pushing your ROI higher than ever before.  

Contact us today to find out how our talented and experienced team of experts can help you launch your marketing strategy and achieve your goals.  

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