How to Promote a Dispensary on Instagram Without Advertising

How to promote a dispensary on Instagram. Social media marketing tips for cannabis retail stores. Dispensary marketing plan.

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How to Promote a Dispensary on Instagram

So you’re setting up your dispensary marketing plan and wondering how to promote a dispensary on Instagram. You’re not alone!

Many cannabis retail stores have set up shop and others are getting ready to open dispensaries asap.

Every dispensary, including yours and your competitors, will need an effective and measured Instagram marketing strategy in order to drive highly qualified traffic to your website or retail store.

In this article we focus on organic social media marketing tactics that you can use to promote your dispensary on Instagram.

If you’re also interested in Facebook marketing for your dispensary, please see our companion piece to this article, How to Promote a Dispensary on Facebook.


5 Tips to Promote a Dispensary on Instagram

The following 5 tips to promote a dispensary on Instagram all use an organic approach to dispensary marketing as opposed to paid social media advertising.

While it is possible to advertise cannabis on Facebook and Google, this post will outline 5 social marketing tactics to use to promote your dispensary on Instagram.

Instagram model and influencer stage walking. Dispensary marketing tips for Instagram. How to promote a dispensary on Instagram.

1. Use Micro-Influencers & Brand Ambassadors

Many cannabis brands and dispensaries are already using influencer marketing as part of their dispensary marketing plan. It’s certainly a good way to get around declining organic reach on Facebook as well as the strict advertising restrictions on social media as a whole.

I’m suggesting using micro influencers as brand ambassadors instead of using your entire marketing budget on one mega-influencer.

The first step to influencer marketing to market your dispensary should begin before you find an influencer. The first step shows you’re being intentionally strategic.

Your first step should be to identify your target market or target markets, because you’ll need different influencers to target different customer cohorts.

Once you’ve identified your most profitable target markets, you can begin the search for a micro-influencer or brand ambassador to help market and promote your cannabis products.


In order for any influencer marketing campaign to be successful, it’s important to strategically align your influencer with your target market.

For example, you may not have a successful campaign if you planned on using a mainstream, hardcore cannabis influencer to help promote edibles sold at your dispensary, and your target market is yoga-moms/soccer-moms, 45 years of age and older.

Forty-five year old moms most likely do not follow a well known cannabis influencer on Instagram, right?

Instead, you may want to consider finding a micro-influencer or brand ambassador in the health, wellness, and skincare niche.

A successful dispensary marketing plan will ensure that chosen influencers are paired directly with each target market, and making sure there is a synergistic fit between their followers and your customers.

Space selfie. How to promote your dispensary on Instagram. Social media marketing tips for dispensary marketing. Dispensary marketing agency Cola Digital.

2. Take Easy on Self Promotion

Instagram can definitely be used to help you sell cannabis products and promote your dispensary online, but it also can be used as a branding tool that keeps your dispensary top of mind.

You most definitely do not want to promote your dispensary in every single post – or even in the majority of posts in your Instagram feed. People really despise shameless self promotion on Instagram in particular.

Best practice for dispensary marketing would be to never use social media to simply self promote and post ads for your cannabis products. It’s very easy to lose followers this way.

If you do need to promote your dispensary using Instagram, post just one sales focused, promotional post per week.

Instead of self-promo, start sharing your own news from your dispensary, share insights from your budtenders, provide useful information to educate your Instagram followers and turn them into customers.

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3. Post Educational Content on Cannabis

As mentioned in our post on how to promote a dispensary on Facebook, we highly suggest you use educational content as part of your social media marketing strategy.

Recreational cannabis has only been legal for a short time in many parts of the world. Therefore, there is a ton of misinformation about both recreational and medical benefits of the plant.

Many cannabis companies have been focused on their brand and have forgotten about the end consumers. They seem to be marketing CBD or promoting a cannabis dispensary to everybody.

Today’s recreational marijuana consumer has many different cohorts, which means many different target audiences. Each different consumer is super curious about cannabis and may consume it in many different ways.

We’ve covered this topic in further detail in this dispensary marketing plan/article “Why Your Dispensary Marketing Plan Must Put Your Target Consumers First”.

For the purpose of this article, the point here is that with legalization being so new, generally speaking, your target consumers are searching for information on cannabis, CBD, THC, edibles, concentrates, dabs, and hundreds of other facts about weed.

One of the most effective ways for a marijuana dispensary to use Instagram is to target educational content to the unique Instagram audience.

Generally speaking, according to, 61% of Instagram users are between 18-34 years of age.

Ages of Instagram users in teh USA. Jan 2018. How to promote your dispensary on Instagram.

This chart shows the age distribution of Instagram users in the United States as of January 2018. As of that month, 30% of U.S. Instagram users were between 25 to 34 years of age.

Digging deeper into this chart shows you that Instagram’s audience is similar to Facebook, but Instagram has much more younger users, where Facebook has older users.

These younger Instagram users between 19/21-34 years of age spend a ton of time on this platform and your dispensary can easily connect with this lucrative market by posting educational cannabis content that is fun and appeals to this age group.

For example, this younger demographic may not be into smoking cannabis flower but may be super interested in marijuana edibles and infused beverages.

Therefore, your dispensary marketing plan for Instagram should include Posts and Stories educating your followers on how to consume cannabis with and without smoking.

If your target is an older audience, like 45+, and you want to promote your Indica strains, CBD oils, or other CBD products for pain management, you may not want to use Instagram to promote your dispensary and instead focus on Facebook.

To learn how to reach an older audience please see our post on how to promote your dispensary on Facebook.

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4. Instagram Live

How familiar are you with Instagram Live?

Instagram Live is an absolutely super duper social channel for driving new followers, increasing brand engagement, and boosting sales from your website or retail store.

It’s arguably the most popular social platform for those 18-34 and 38% of these people check the platform multiple times each day.

Instagram Live is different than Instagram Stories because the former is all video and initially all live and in real time.

You can reuse an Instagram Live video in your IG Story which provides a longer life cycle and more eyeballs for your content.

Part of your dispensary marketing strategy for Instagram should be to post a series of live videos every day. Why, you ask?

The following are just a few benefits for your dispensary when you post on Instagram Live:

  • You build authenticity and trust with your followers
  • You can increase your visibility on Instagram
  • Your content can end up in Instagram’s Explore Feed
  • You can create a sense of urgency for in-store promotions and products
  • You can use IG Live to partner with Influencers and drive sales

You should plan to meet with your dispensary marketing team and budtenders to implement an Instagram marketing strategy and implement Instagram Live videos as a tactic to drive engagement, boost followers, and increase sales.

IGTV logo. How to promote a dispensary on Instagram.

5. Instagram TV or IGTV

Have you created your IGTV channel on Instagram for your dispensary yet? If you haven’t, I’m betting your competing dispensaries haven’t either. So you should get in first!

IGTV or Instagram TV is an amazing new app/new feature that you can use to promote your dispensary using social media.

According to this source, 33% of all online activity is spent watching video. Over half of that video content is viewed on mobile phones. Everyone uses Instagram on their phone!

If this doesn’t convince you to set up your dispensaries IGTV channel how about the fact that these statistics are expected to increase to 78% of mobile traffic viewing videos by 2021.

Some benefits of using IGTV in your dispensary marketing mix include:

  • Fun and engaging way to educate your followers about your dispensary
  • More opportunity for community engagement
  • Another way to increase your visibility on Instagram
  • It’s free and you don’t need expensive equipment to produce video
  • You can post longer form videos to show off your retail space and events

When planning your IGTV dispensary marketing strategy be sure to get creative, have fun, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of IGTV content.

Don’t be overly salesy in your IGTV videos. Instead focus on education, helpful information, showcase budtenders and any willing customers.

Remember, if your competing dispensaries aren’t doing this yet, they likely will start soon. So your dispensary should get in on producing content for IGTV asap, and have fun doing it!

Medicine and CBD oil. Dispensary marketing on Instagram. How to promote a dispensary on Instagram.

We Can Help Promote Your Dispensary on Instagram!

You are now equipped with 5 Instagram marketing tips for dispensaries that don’t require advertising.

The dispensary marketing tips discussed above are organic marketing tactics that can help increase engagement and your following on Instagra.

However, if you’re interested in trying digital advertising as part of your dispensary marketing strategy, we can help you with that as well! is a data-driven, performance based dispensary marketing company with over 20 years experience in digital marketing startegy and execution.

We’ve been able to advertise medical cannabis on Facebook and Google and are currently running paid ad campaigns on Google for cannabis-related services.

Check out our social media management and social media advertising services to see if there’s a fit with your dispensary’s marketing needs.

If you have a current project in mind please contact us for a free consultation by using the form below.

We’re ready to help you grow!