Cannabis and Social Media; Five Ways to Keep It Tight on Instagram
Let's start today's story with a headline from Cannabis Business Times: “Social Media and the Cannabis Industry: Tips and Lessons Learned"
Ball Family Farms made news as one of the first vertically integrated social equity licensees in Los Angeles. Now they’re making headlines again but for a very unfortunate reason: their Instagram with 120,000 followers was shut down.
“… over the past year, [the company’s] original Instagram account has had several posts flagged as violating the platform’s community guidelines. [Brand manager Frankie] Segal says she isn’t even sure if the posts are being flagged by Instagram users or by the platform’s algorithm.” but about two months ago, the company learned that its Instagram account had been deactivated... Segal and her team are appealing the decision.
“They keep telling us it’s going to get back up this weekend, next week,” she says. “…in the meantime, we’re building up our back-up account.” [If you'd like to support them, their new handle is: @ballfamilyfarmsla]
THE DEEP DIVE
The BFF story "… is familiar in the cannabis industry, where businesses have long fought “shadow bans” … and posts that are flagged and taken down for less-than-clear reasons.”
It highlights the 2 major issues with social media and cannabis:
#1: On the one hand, I believe social media companies are violating our First Amendment Rights by not allowing cannabis advertising, under the false pretense that they are “national media companies”. I say this is false because national media companies use BROAD-casting technologies where a message is sent out and anyone with a receiver such as a TV or radio can get it.
Social media’s advertising services, by which Facebook made $84 Billion last year and Google made $147 Billion… is the OPPOSITE OF BROAD-CASTING: it is pinpoint targeting technology that can reach anyone anywhere, and can also AVOID ANYONE, ANYWHERE, such as illegal states or minors. Members of Congress don’t seem to understand this, but hopefully some intrepid attorney will take the case, much like Timothy Leary got the Marijuana Tax Act overturned by suing the Federal Government in 1969 for violating his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
THE LOOP BACK
#2: But posting on your page is different – it’s not targeted – and therefore let’s also refresh our collective memories with Five Ways to Keep It Tight on Instagram so your brand can stay healthy and happy:
1. Don’t actively sell cannabis products. Don’t show pricing. Don’t talk about sales-days. Go one step further: Include disclaimers on your page that remind users that you don’t not sell cannabis products online.
2. Don’t show use of cannabis.
3. Don’t promise results, especially health results. This could get you in even bigger trouble than losing your site – the FDA could sue you and/or fine you.
4. Content is King & Queen: Tell stories instead of showing product.
a. Ball Family Farms is now focusing on its background as one of the first social equity licensees in Los Angeles
b. Talk about employees, values, news items… create a full picture of your brand and what it stands for
5. Mind your #hashtags. The Agency called Cannabis Creative has a blog post “Why You Need to be Careful Using Cannabis Hashtags on Instagram” which includes a BIG LIST of “a list of hidden and banned cannabis hashtags”. Use this list!
By the way, the #4 most popular social media platform, Tumblr, is going a different way and IS taking cannabis ads, and even has a cannabis page: cannabis.tumblr.com
And don’t forget @Clubhouse, the social audio social media platform that’s ranked #5 and is home to the State of Cannabis News Hour, the stickiest show on the platform.
IMAGE SOURCE: Ball Family Farms new page: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVYdGYgKNv2/