It’s crazy to think of a world without social media, but the truth is that it’s a very, very new phenomenon in the world of business. Words like “facebook”, “twitter”, “instsagram”, and “pinterest” didn’t even exist when most of us were in college, or even high school. And cell phone technology is exploding at unprecedented speed, which means that many of us, and MOST of your customers, to be sure, have all of these platforms available in their pockets, and at their fingertips, 24/7.
But this isn’t news to you. You already know all of this. But do you know how to USE social media to effectively market your dispensary? Sure, you have a facebook page (I hope). Maybe even a twitter account (maybe). But it’s not enough to just have accounts that see an occasional posting or update any longer. With the speed at which technology is moving, you need to be on top of these accounts, and providing useful, informative, and engaging content on a regular basis. That’s why social media management has become a field in its own right. Hiring a social media manager is often the best thing an owner can do for his or her business. But you don’t necessarily have to, once you learn the tips to effectively use social media to your business advantage!
1. Engage your audience. Ask a question, and have your followers post their responses. Ask them to post pictures of themselves using their favorite products from your store, or of them in front of your shop. Devise a contest whereby one lucky poster will receive a nice little reward the next time they visit your shop. Get creative. Don’t be afraid to take chances. But your audience is much more likely to pay attention to and interact with you if they are engaged by you, and not just reading posts that ask them to contribute nothing.
2. Don’t overly promote yourself with every post. People quickly grow weary of reading ads. Don’t use social media to do little more than post advertisements or self-promote. In fact, there is a rule that says you should only be doing so once in every seven posts. Instead, share your insight. Share your opinion. Let people know what you’re thinking about a variety of topics. Just be sure you don’t fall into the “ME, ME, ME!!” category of posters. That’s a sure fire way to turn off your audience and to get them to stop paying any attention whatsoever.
3. Link to content from OTHER sources. So what else can you post to hold the interest of your customers? Lots of things! Hell, you don’t even have to come up with it! You use the internet. There are a TON of great articles and resources out there that matter to you, and therefore matter to your clientele! Think about the things that interest YOU. Would they interest the people that patronize your store? There’s a lot going on in the world of weed, and not everybody is out there scanning the internet every day looking for new, relevant information. That’s where you come in. Be a trusted guide, and provide content that people want to see, all in one location – your location – be it on facebook, twitter, instagram, or otherwise.
4. Create a YouTube channel. Post quick, fun videos of your staff sharing their tips, tricks, or favorites. How about a POV experience going through your dispensary? Let them see the outside AND inside of your store. Then encourage your followers to post videos of themselves, and have a contest whereby they get to choose their favorite for a chance to win some great schwag. You can even ask for video testimonials and reviews.
5. Create a Pinterest board. What a great resource to post pictures of your favorite dank nugs, eh? Every strain you carry should have a beautiful, high resolution photo of a representative bud on there. Got pretty glass? Post it. Store photos? Staff photos? Customer photos? The possibilities are endless. Don’t forget to encourage customers to participate, and to re-pin on their own boards, for increased social media amplification. Run a contest even. People love to look at pictures. Get on Pinterest!
6. Use Instagram. Instagram allows you to share your photos to a variety of social media platforms, like facebook, twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr (are you beginning to see why social media managers exist?), all from a separate and distinct Instagram account. We’ve all heard about a picture saying a thousand words. There’s plenty of truth to that. What’s a world without visuals? Take photos, and share them to a variety of platforms using Instagram!
7. Tweet. Get on twitter, and start following people in your industry that matter. Follow pro-marijuana legislators, lawyers, and analysts. Follow vendors, journalists, bloggers, and anyone else who has something positive to say about legalization. Then get your customers to follow you by tweeting pictures, images, news, opinions (on ANYTHING that you find interesting – local sports, anyone?), and promotions.
8. Engage your local audience. Target your customer base with local content. News. Sports. Events. Weather. You name it. If it’s happening locally, connect with your fellow locals about it. And don’t forget to ask their opinions. Again, sports is a real freebie in this arena. Harness the power of the multi-billion dollar professional sports industry, for FREE. But don’t forget other local issues and events that also matter to your clients.
9. Personalize your content. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Let your followers create a relationship with YOU, not just your brand. Let them know who you are, and what you stand for. Be authentic, and let your true character shine through. Your customers will appreciate you for this, and will value your honesty and transparency. No one wants to create a connection with a soulless brand. They want to connect with REAL PEOPLE. Like you!
10. Market your product! Now, after you’ve followed all these other rules, tips, and tricks, and created a group of loyal, connected followers, don’t forget to market your promotions! Feature your best products, your engaging staff members, and your most popular promotions. Offer deals, loyalty rewards, and referral incentives. Encourage new “likes” and follows with monthly specials. Get creative, but make sure that around one in seven of your posts gives your loyal followers a reason to come into your store and spend money!
Social media provides an insanely powerful set of tools for you to use to increase your visibility, and therefore your traffic. You can really build your brand by using the many platforms available to you, if you know what to do, and how to do it. Follow these tips, and start harnessing the power of social media today!