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Socialike

The ABC’s of CBD Marketing on Social

Until you know where and how you can talk to your specific consumers, it’s difficult to promote your goods. As discussed in our intro, CBD is now widely on sale in the US in countless products, yet inconsistently marketed, due to the hesitations of the social media platforms.  So this article is aimed at you, CBD manufacturers and distributors.  Note that in all cases here, we are discussing only products that are very low/no THC.  If you’re marketing high THC products (e.g. liquid marijuana extracts that will get you high), you’ll need to hunt somewhere elsewhere for marketing guidelines.)

In the meantime, if you’re curious about the marketing environment for regular CBD products on social, let’s discuss venues.

Facebook, Instagram and Google Word Search

The following platforms have stricter policies about CBD promotion:

  • Facebook
  • Google Word Search
  • Instagram

Despite the fact that there’s less latitude for overtly promoting CBD on these key platforms, ethically sound workarounds can be found. Facebook may punish a page that has paid ads for CBD, but they do allow you to organically post about a CBD product. Another intelligent method would be to promote a non-CBD related product and have other posts on the page linking it to a microsite that does have information on CBD products. In other words, use Facebook to run ads that drive people to the page, but leverage that exposure to promote CBD-related posts.

Although they don’t allow for paid advertisements via the actual platform, using social media influencers to promote a product is not regulated to the same extent, provided they follow community guidelines.

The following platforms have been the most receptive to CBD products promotions:

Twitter: Do’s & Don’ts for Manufacturers & Distributors of CBD products

DO

  • Tweet constantly. Organically, you can and should promote your CBD products
  • Use threads about CBD to engage consumers and increase interest
  • Use Hashtags that contain “CBD”, or product-relevant keywords
  • Share a link in your tweets for readers to learn about CBD on your website
  • Use Tweetdeck (a free listening tool) to discover conversations and reach your target audience
    • Set up columns for keywords like “CBD helps” or “looking for CBD” to find content to interact with

DO NOT

  • Make health claims about curing, treatment, diagnosis about conditions and diseases (holds true for all the other social media platforms, too)
  • Attempt to run ads that promote herbal drugs: Ad guidelines
    • Twitter restricts the promotion of health and pharmaceutical products and services: Community guidelines
  • Talk about clinical trials.
    • Health claims about the cure, treatment, diagnosis or prevention of certain diseases and conditions is prohibited unless you have prior authorization from Twitter. Authorization starts with being in touch with a Twitter account team.

Reddit (The Do’s & Don’ts)

DO

  • Post quality content in subreddits (community message boards) like /r/Supplements and /r/CBD
    • Having an active presence in a couple subreddits is a great way to establish thought leadership and user trust
  • Look at each individual community and their rules before posting anything   
    • /r/Supplements requires getting a profile badge that discloses affiliation with link posts
    • /r/CBD prohibits any links to any vendors or marketing. Creatively. plugging your products and why you believe in them can still be an effective way to increase awareness.
      • Pro tip: Spend a considerable amount of time studying up on what content performs best, then sort all posts by “New” and engage with content that will likely get upvoted.
  • Run ads that follow the rules and research what content performs best on Reddit ( i.e. funny memes)
    • Reddit advertising guidelines: “All ads for supplements must include appropriate, clearly legible disclaimers in the advertisement creative”

DO NOT

  • Make health claims about curing, treatment, diagnosis about conditions and diseases
  • Imply or state CBD is more effective than an FDA approved product
  • Break community guidelines:
    • One of /r/Supplements rules: “We want to make it clear that marketing and advertising is unacceptable. We want to keep the discussion by users, for users.”
  • Post discount codes. You have to be more creative than overtly plugging anything.

Snapchat (The Do’s & Don’ts)

DO

  • Understand that the target market is Gen Z and Millennials
  • Reach your target audience with Filters and Lenses
  • Host influencer account “takeovers”

DO NOT

  • Make health claims about curing, treatment, diagnosis about conditions and diseases
  • Attempt to run ads that suggest an affiliation with or endorsement by Snap or its products

Pinterest (The Do’s & Don’ts)

DO

  • Create collab boards with influencers
  • Post DIY content and look for ways to include CBD in everyday life situations
  • Pin highly branded content
  • Publish infographics, infographics, and more infographics

DO NOT

  • Make health claims about curing, treatment, diagnosis about conditions and diseases
  • Imply or state it’s more effective than FDA-approved product
  • Post timely content, Pinterest is more of a search engine than social channel

Alternate strategies can do a lot of heavy lifting

Influencers are a great tool

These people are paid, should indicate this sponsorship via acceptable means (“handshake tool”), and have large followings. Here’s why we consider them a potentially great asset to CBD marketers:

  • Their followings are loyal to the influencer and will trust their recommendations
  • The relationship makes some groups amenable to trying certain categories of products
  • They reach engaged users who are interested in product benefits and usage
  • They are also content creators and their posts give you user-generated content to promote on media pages and platforms
  • Their followers can create communities and amp up conversation about your brand’s name and product
  • Their increased traffic to your brand can greatly increase sales
  • They are far removed from your brand’s social media page

Be creative about reaching interested people

At Socialike, we’ve discovered creative strategies that can achieve results. These can be found outside the usual top tier social platforms, but they’re there.

Online communities (e.g. new moms): Some online communities are exceptionally good at organically spreading the word and opinions about CBD.  A specific example: groups of new moms, who are interested in the potential of CBD for various stresses. Our research of one support group found that 39% will currently use any CBD product and 78% would be interested in sampling a CBD oil that uses a vape pen as the delivery method. Provide them with any information they want and link to your product pages or website.

Podcasts: Another strategic way to reach a highly targeted audience would be to consider the power of the ever expanding world of podcasts.  Look into sponsorships of aligned podcasts, although again, watch out for over-the-line health claims. Some podcasts have large numbers of affluent listeners, and announcer-read ads can add a level of credibility.

Advice for CBD marketers

Getting your brand and product out in front of a target consumer is always beneficial. Pay close attention to the content that your company and influencers are generating to make sure you’re not breaking platform rules or making claims that could provoke the FTC.  Focus on creating content that is actually informative. Lastly, if you’re choosing influencers to market your company, make sure you select bona fide people whose lifestyle, values and followers could align with your brand’s mission and core values.

If you’re working with us at Socialike, for instance, we monitor the conversations and promotion of our clients’ brand in an experienced and strategic way. Our roster of influencers know the platforms and understand compliance.  This keeps you in good standing with social platforms or the FTC and FDA on in an ever-evolving environment.

At Socialike we follow our own advice, and using the strategies above will help to ensure success in promoting your CBD products during this boom in curiosity. The potential for CBD right now is unprecedented. Approach strategically, and we wish you the best of luck.