Can Dispensaries Advertise on Facebook?
So you’re wondering if dispensaries can advertise on Facebook or social media in general, right?
As of mid-2023, the short answer is no, cannabis dispensaries can not advertise on Facebook and remain compliant with longevity, but online CBD stores can advertise on Facebook!
Read our article titled How To Advertise CBD on Facebook & Instagram for a detailed guide on how to advertise CBD on Facebook and remain compliant.
Although cannabis is legal in Canada, many of the United States, and many countries around the globe, leading digital media channels like Google and Facebook still have strict regulations on cannabis advertising.
The good news for online dispensaries and retail cannabis stores is that there are a few effective cannabis marketing tactics that business owners can use to grow their businesses and remain competitive in the crowded world of cannabis.
For example, our cannabis marketing agency has been using Google search advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), organic social media posts, local SEO for dispensaries, and blog content marketing to help our dispensary clients increase online revenue.
Consider this: when someone wants to buy weed or other cannabis products, they do not go to Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform.
Instead, when people want to buy cannabis online, they go straight to Google and search for the product they want to buy when they have the intent to purchase.
This is why we highly recommend that you consider using Google search advertising for weed, CBD, and other cannabis products.
I’d really like to answer with a resounding YES when our clients ask me “can dispensaries advertise on facebook?”, but until we see federal legalization of cannabis in the USA, we have. much more effective cannabis digital marketing strategies that are guaranteed to increase your brand awareness, website traffic, and online sales.
This article aims to help cannabis business owners understand how to market and promote your dispensary on Facebook without using Facebook advertising.
You Thought You Can Advertise Cannabis on Facebook?
As we all know, advertising policies related to cannabis products and services on Meta’s platforms Facebook & Instagram, can be quite restrictive due to the varying legal status of cannabis in different jurisdictions.
Even in Canada, where cannabis has been legal since November 2018, we are unable to advertise cannabis on Facebook. As mentioned above, advertising CBD on Facebook is another story.
Facebook’s advertising policies are subject to change, so it’s important to check with their latest guidelines for the most up-to-date information. But for now, only certain types of CBD advertising are allowed and cannabis advertising still remains a no-go.
In the past, Facebook has generally prohibited the promotion of the sale, use, or distribution of cannabis and related products, including cannabis dispensaries, even in regions where cannabis is legal for medical or recreational use.
This was due to concerns about the federal legality of cannabis in the United States and the potential for ads to reach audiences in areas where cannabis is illegal.
For those who see cannabis advertising in their Facebook feeds, you might find that they allow some limited advertising for cannabis-related businesses in specific regions or under certain conditions.
However, you should proceed very cautiously and thoroughly review Facebook’s current advertising policies, terms of service, and any local regulations before attempting to advertise a cannabis dispensary on the platform.
The next section deals with how to use Facebook for cannabis marketing and remain complaint.
How To Market Your Dispensary on Facebook & Other Social Media
One of the most effective marketing tactics for cannabis dispensaries is to use Facebook & other social media platforms to interact directly with consumers.
You can build awareness of your online dispensary or cannabis retail store, convert your followers into customers, and connect with new potential customers with a strategic social media plan.
To be successful with organic social media marketing for cannabis stores is that you have to be consistent, relevant, and engaging. You can’t always be about your brand or trying to sell your products.
Here are some general Facebook marketing strategies that cannabis dispensaries might consider if they want to market their business on Facebook while attempting to remain compliant with policies and regulations:
1. Educational Content:
- Instead of directly promoting products or sales, focus on providing educational content about cannabis, its benefits, usage, and the science behind it.This can help you build an audience and establish your dispensary as a knowledgeable resource.
2. Local Community Engagement:
- Highlight your dispensary’s involvement in the local community. Showcase charitable activities, community events, and partnerships.This can help create a positive image for your dispensary and foster engagement without directly promoting products.
3. Health and Wellness:
- Emphasize the potential health and wellness benefits of cannabis. Discuss topics like pain relief, stress reduction, and alternative medicine.Be cautious not to make unsubstantiated medical claims.
4. CBD Products:
- If your dispensary offers CBD products, which might have less strict regulations, you could focus on promoting those.However, still ensure that your content adheres to Facebook’s policies.
5. Age-Restricted Content:
- Implement strict age restrictions on your page to ensure that only users of legal age can access your content. This can involve age-gating your page or posts.
6. Non-Promotional Posts:
- Avoid direct promotions, discounts, or sales pitches for your products. Instead, share general updates, news, and insights related to the cannabis industry.
7. Avoid Imagery:
- Be cautious with images that depict cannabis products. Use imagery that focuses on lifestyle, wellness, or your dispensary’s unique atmosphere.
8. Compliance with Local Laws:
- Ensure that you are fully aware of the local laws and regulations regarding cannabis advertising in your jurisdiction. Tailor your content to comply with these rules.
- Include clear and prominent disclaimers on your content, stating that cannabis products are intended for use only by adults of legal age and are subject to local laws.
10. Consult with Experts:
- Consult legal experts who are well-versed in both advertising regulations and cannabis laws in your region. They can provide you with specific guidance tailored to your situation.
Remember that Facebook’s advertising policies can change, and local regulations can vary greatly.
Always check the most up-to-date guidelines provided by Facebook and the legal requirements in your jurisdiction before implementing any marketing strategies for your cannabis dispensary.
How To Market Your Dispensary Without Social Media
Have you ever went to social media when you wanted to buy something online, now?
I’m not asking if you’ve ever bought anything from social media, I’m asking do you have the intent to buy something, like cannabis products, when you open your Facebook or Instagram app or when you’re scrolling through any social media?
The answer is probably “no”. I bet you go to a search engine like Google when you have the intent to buy something now or order something for fast delivery now.
This is why we tell most of our clients to focus most of their marketing budget on search engine marketing over social media.
People go to search engines for 3 reasons only:
- To buy something/order something
- To find out information
- To find directions
Here are 2 options for cannabis stores to market their dispensary, increase brand awareness and website traffic, and grow revenues without using Facebook.
1. Cannabis Dispensary SEO
Here’s a brief overview of how a cannabis dispensary can utilize different elements of search engine optimization (SEO) to increase both website traffic and in-store foot traffic:
1. Keyword Research and Optimization:
– Identify relevant keywords related to cannabis products, strains, and services.
– Optimize website content, including product descriptions, blog posts, and meta tags, with these keywords.
2. Local SEO:
– Optimize Google My Business listing with accurate business information, including location, hours, and contact details.
– Encourage customer reviews and respond to them promptly.
– Create location-specific landing pages for different store locations, if applicable.
3. Content Creation:
– Regularly create high-quality, informative, and engaging content around cannabis topics, including educational articles, strain reviews, and industry news.
– Content should be valuable to your target audience and showcase your expertise.
4. On-Page Optimization:
– Ensure proper HTML tags (title tags, header tags) are optimized with relevant keywords.
– Optimize images with descriptive alt text and compress large files for faster loading times.
– Use internal links to connect related content within your website.
5. Mobile Optimization:
– Ensure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly for users browsing on smartphones and tablets.
6. Site Speed and Performance:
– Improve website loading speed by compressing images, minimizing code, and using content delivery networks (CDNs).
– Fast-loading sites provide better user experience and are favored by search engines.
7. Backlink Building:
– Build quality backlinks from authoritative websites related to cannabis, health, and lifestyle.
– Guest posting, partnerships, and influencer collaborations can help acquire relevant links.
8. Social Media Integration:
– Promote your content and products on social media platforms.
– Engage with followers and encourage them to share your content, which can indirectly improve your website’s visibility.
9. User Experience (UX):
– Design a user-friendly website layout with clear navigation.
– Ensure a seamless purchasing process for online orders, if applicable.
10. Local Directories and Citations:
– List your dispensary on local directories, ensuring consistent and accurate business information.
– Citations from reputable sources can improve your local search visibility.
11. Schema Markup:
– Implement schema markup to provide search engines with structured data about your business, products, and reviews.
12. Monitoring and Analytics:
– Regularly track website traffic, user behaviour, and keyword rankings using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
– Adjust your SEO strategy based on the insights gained from these tools.
By effectively combining these SEO elements, a cannabis dispensary can enhance its online presence, attract more website visitors, and ultimately drive increased foot traffic to its physical stores.
Keep in mind that SEO is an ongoing process, and staying up-to-date with industry trends and algorithm changes is crucial for sustained success. That’s why we suggest hiring an experienced cannabis SEO agency like ColaDigital.
2. Google Search Advertising
So since you can’t advertise a dispensary on Facebook, you should know that you may be able to advertise your retail cannabis dispensary on Google!
Here are several compelling reasons why a cannabis dispensary can benefit from using Google search ads:
1. Targeted Reach:
Google search ads allow dispensaries to target users actively searching for cannabis-related products and information. This ensures that your ads are displayed to an audience that is already interested in what you offer.
2. Local Visibility:
Dispensaries can use geotargeting to focus their ads on a specific geographic area, ensuring they reach local customers who are more likely to visit their physical store.
3. Immediate Visibility:
Google search ads provide instant visibility on search engine results pages, making it an effective way to quickly generate traffic and potentially increase footfall to your dispensary.
4. Controlled Budget:
Dispensaries can set a daily or monthly budget for their search ads, ensuring they have control over their advertising spend and can allocate resources effectively.
5. Measurable Results:
Google Ads provides comprehensive performance metrics, allowing dispensaries to track clicks, conversions, and other key performance indicators. This data helps in assessing the effectiveness of the campaigns.
6. Immediate Impact:
Unlike organic SEO efforts, which take time to yield results, Google search ads can generate immediate traffic and drive quicker conversions.
7. Mobile Reach:
With the growing number of users accessing the internet via mobile devices, search ads ensure that your dispensary is visible to users searching on smartphones and tablets.
Dispensaries can implement remarketing campaigns to target users who have previously interacted with their website, increasing the likelihood of converting interested users.
9. Competitive Advantage:
If other dispensaries in your area are not utilizing Google search ads effectively, you can gain a competitive edge by leveraging this advertising channel.
10. Data-Driven Optimization:
The data collected from Google Ads campaigns allows dispensaries to make informed decisions about which keywords, ad copies, and strategies are most effective.
11. Compliance Control:
By creating customized ad copy, dispensaries can ensure that their messaging aligns with local regulations and compliance requirements.
12. Return on Investment (ROI):
If managed effectively, Google search ads can provide a positive ROI by driving qualified traffic to your dispensary and potentially increasing sales.
By leveraging the benefits of Google search ads, a cannabis dispensary can enhance its online visibility, attract targeted traffic, increase brand awareness, and potentially boost online and in-store revenues.
It’s important to have a well-planned strategy, continuously monitor campaign performance, and make adjustments based on data insights to maximize the benefits of this advertising channel.
3 Tips To Market Your Dispensary On Social Media Without Advertising
The old school sales rule of “ABC: Always Be Closing”, made famous in the film Glengarry Glen Ross doesn’t apply when it comes to social media marketing for dispensaries.
Here are 3 tips on how to market your dispensary on Facebook and grow your following on Instagram without advertising.
1. Think of Instagram Hashtags Like Keywords For SEO
Any experienced cannabis social media marketer knows that if you include the right hashtags in your post you’re most likely going to see much more reach, impressions, and engagement than if you used generic hashtags.
The whole point of using hashtags on Instagram posts is to get your content seen by the right people at the right time and on the right platform.
If you’re going to use hashtags in your cannabis social media marketing strategy, please use them strategically not randomly.
Here are a few strategic tips on how to optimize your hashtags when marketing your dispensary on Instagram:
Hashtag Tip 1. Use the right number of hashtags:
- Instagram allows for a total of 30 hashtags.
- I’d suggest using all 30.
- Keep them relevant and ensure you change them up for each post.
- Never ever repeat the same hashtags and or cut and paste in hashtags from previous posts.
Hashtag Tip 2. Hide your hashtags:
- The idea here is to optimize your content/caption.
- Don’t clutter up your post caption by having what killer social media copy mixed in with promotional hashtags.
- Instead, post your content and then immediately return to the live post in your feed and leave a comment with 30 popular hashtags.
- If you insist on having your hashtags in your caption and not in the comments, you can bury your hashtags in the caption and still keep it clean.
Hashtag Tip 3. Don’t use irrelevant hashtags:
- Sourcing popular hashtags that are irrelevant to your business and products is totally spammy behavior.
- I guarantee this approach will annoy people who follow those hashtags.
- These people will likely tell Instagram to “Don’t Show for this Hashtag”, leaving your post with negative feedback on relevancy.
As we mentioned above, it’s best for cannabis stores to use hashtags strategically.
If you give your target audience high-quality content that speaks to their interests and answers their questions, you will see an increase in your social media engagement and following.
2. Post Branded & Relevant Content to Increase Traffic and Boost SEO
Yea, it’s true. You can help the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website by using social media strategically.
Popular search engine’s like Google and Bing have super-algorithms that help them identify which web pages are consistently earning traffic, from which sources. These same algorithms also let them know which web pages are just “out there”, potentially forgotten and often ignored.
Cannabis business owners should understand that an optimized content strategy is one of the most important factors in your cannabis SEO strategy but, driving qualified traffic to your website’s optimized pages will positively affect your search engine rankings.
Simple things like re-sharing/re-purposing content that has performed well previously on social media is a good tactic to drive potential new cannabis customers to your website. We typically suggest repurposing each post once a month or creating new content pieces.
For example, if you published a blog article on the differences between Indica, Sativa, and hybrid strains that received some decent engagement on social media and also generated many clicks to your website, you could repurpose that blog content into a video.
You’d then be able to take proven content to other mediums in the form of a video. You likely didn’t share your blog article in Instagram but now with a video or a series of videos, you could share that website blog content on Instagram where users can consume the content without having to leave the platform.
3. Use Facebook Messenger Chatbots to Help With Customer Service & Drive Retail Traffic
Do you still care whether or not you can advertise dispensaries on Facebook? I’m hoping you can see that there are a few options to promote cannabis products other than social media advertising.
I’m sure you’ve realized this already, either with your cannabis-related business or maybe even in your personal life. Social media is key to customer service today.
Customers expect a quick response time, period. These days, that response is usually expected quickly on social media platforms than anywhere else.
If there’s a problem with your weed or if someone can’t figure out how to use your vape pen, or maybe someone doesn’t know how much of an edible to eat, your customers expect you to provide answers asap.
If your cannabis retail store can handle customer service via Facebook Messenger chatbots or some other form of automation, you can establish a huge competitive edge in your local business area.
You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be super responsive and have the answers to their questions ready. This is why we recommend using a Facebook Messenger chatbot for your dispensary.
For example, a study from Sprout Social identified that customers want responses from brands on social media within four hours, yet the average response time is 10 hours.
We all know that customer service can be a major drag with some local businesses, but think of it this way. This isn’t just a huge pain in the ass for customers, it also directly affects your profits.
Here’s some evidence of this. A Twitter study showed that customers are willing to pay almost $20 more for future tickets when airlines respond to their tweets within 6 minutes.
I think that it’s a well-known fact that companies that respond well, in a timely fashion, to customer inquiries, feedback, or complaints, will be rewarded with good PR potentially resulting in increased sales.
Reconsidering Cannabis Advertising on Facebook?
So now you know that you can advertise CBD on Facebook but cannabis dispensaries can’t advertise on Facebook.
You also have recommendations on how to effectively use social media to market your dispensary without Facebook advertising.
And, you have 2 effective cannabis marketing tactics that you can use to grow your online dispensary or retail cannabis store.
If your cannabis company needs strategic digital marketing help, we’re available for consultations and managed services.
Please contact us today to discuss how we can help you grow your canna-business.