Twitter is an important channel for cannabis businesses and cannabis-related businesses to indirectly market their products and services. According to research conducted by Pew Research last year, 22% of U.S. adults use Twitter, with adoption higher among men (24%) than women (21%), and among survey respondents who self-identified as Hispanic (25%) and Black (24%) than White (21%).
While Twitter isn’t the most popular social media channel, it should still be part of your cannabis marketing plan. Pew Research found that it’s only slightly less popular than Snapchat. Here’s the breakdown by the percentage of U.S. adult users:
- Facebook – 69%
- Instagram – 37%
- Pinterest – 28%
- LinkedIn – 27%
- Snapchat – 24%
- Twitter – 22%
- Whatsapp – 20%
In addition, the Pew Research study revealed that Twitter users skew younger (44% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 use Twitter) have higher household incomes (31% of Twitter users have annual household incomes of $75,000 or more), and are highly educated (32% have completed college and another 24% have completed some college). Twitter use is most common in urban areas (26%) and suburban areas (22%).
If the Twitter user demographics reported by Pew Research sound like your target customer, then Twitter could be a great place for your brand to stand out.
6 Twitter Marketing Tips for Cannabis Businesses and Cannabis-Related Businesses
Advertising a cannabis business or cannabis-related business is very challenging (if not impossible) using Twitter ads, but you can post content and interact with consumers through a branded Twitter profile. It’s highly effective to boost brand awareness, loyalty, and even sales.
With that said, here are six Twitter marketing tips for cannabis businesses and ancillary businesses to help you use it effectively:
1. Post Original Content
Similar to Facebook marketing and Instagram marketing for cannabis license holders, a critical part of successfully leveraging Twitter to raise brand awareness and the type of brand trust that leads to sales is to post original content. This could be text-based tweets or text with images or videos. However, statistics show that tweets with images and videos perform better than text alone. Therefore, plan to include images or videos with every tweet.
Bloom Farms provides a great example in its tweet shown below, which includes text and a powerful image:
The journey to joy can be steep and full of missteps. But once you get there, it will all be worth it. We envision our’s to end on a secluded mountain peak, but everyone has a preference. What about you? #wheredoyoubloom #beunstoppable pic.twitter.com/aHa0mHJCx8
— Bloom Farms (@BloomFarms) April 26, 2019
When you post original content on Twitter, make sure you follow Twitter’s rules, or your account could get shut down without warning. Keep in mind, Twitter’s rules say:
“You may not use our service for any unlawful purposes or in furtherance of illegal activities.”
As far as Twitter is concerned, cannabis is illegal at the federal level, so you have to tread very carefully. Don’t publish promotional content that sells your products or services. Instead, focus on publishing useful information that supports your brand story and creates an experience. Your posts could mention news, legislation, research, or advocacy information that your target audience is likely to be interested in.
Use a tool like Buzzsumo to search for content that performs well on Twitter to help decide what types of posts you’ll publish. You can search by keyword and sort the results by the number of Twitter shares to find out what content is most popular over specific periods of time.
Importantly, when you post original content, include a link to a relevant blog post or page on your website where people can learn more about the topic. Don’t link to a page that offers your product or service for sale, but do link to relevant, useful information on your website. That’s the safest route to stay out of trouble with Twitter.
MedMen does this when it publishes new blog posts and tweets the links to those posts on its Twitter profile:
Low-dose cannabis use can be best used for treating anxiety.https://t.co/JpvSvQLLru
— MedMen (@ShopMedMen) April 28, 2019
Finally, include hashtags in your tweets to make it easier for people to find your content. Hashtags (such as #cannabis) make it easier for people to find posts about topics they’re interested in, so use a tool like Hashtagify to find the best cannabis-related hashtags for your Twitter posts. You can also reverse engineer your competitors’ hashtag strategies by visiting their Twitter profiles and looking at the hashtags they use in their tweets.
2. Share Content Published by Other People
Twitter isn’t just about posting your own content. It’s also about sharing useful and meaningful information that was originally published by other people. Whether it’s a highly relevant news story or a blogger’s opinion about decriminalization, if the topic is useful to your audience, consistent with your brand, and high quality, then go ahead and share it on Twitter.
A big part of using Twitter to promote a brand is to become a great resource for people about a subject related to your products or services. You can do that by posting a variety of useful content from other sources that your audience can benefit from.
BioTrack provides a great example. As a seed-to-sale inventory management and dispensary point-of-sale software, BioTrack consistently posts content from a variety of reputable sources about regulations and compliance issues. In the tweet below, BioTrack shared important Missouri cannabis licensing news:
#Missouri – “The awarding of a contract to register patients, license facilities and track #marijuana from seed to sale…was flawed because the winner did not disclose fees that would be charged to growers and other vendors.” #cannabis https://t.co/uk34Cqo1nD
— BioTrackTHC (@BioTrackTHC) April 22, 2019
3. Be Timely
Look for opportunities to post timely content that matters to your audience on your Twitter profile. For example, Twitter publishes an event calendar each year that is filled with events that could be used to create content that you can share on Twitter. You can follow the link to download the 2020 U.S. and Canada @TwitterBusiness Calendar.
For many cannabis businesses and cannabis-related businesses, annual health awareness days offer inspiration for timely tweets that are highly relevant and meaningful for their audiences. You can follow the link to see Healthline’s 2020 health awareness calendar and use it to publish educational and motivational tweets.
Below is a great example from Evergreen Organix of using a current event to create a tweet that indirectly promotes the brand:
Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with You! pic.twitter.com/SX18zZccyA
— EVERGREEN ORGANIX (@EvergreenMMJ) May 4, 2020
4. Engage with Your Followers
Engaging with your Twitter followers involves retweeting their content, replying to them when they mention you in Twitter posts, liking their content, sending them direct messages when it’s appropriate to do so, and @mentioning them within your own posts.
Being successful on Twitter involves building a following of people who pay attention to what you tweet, share it with their own audiences, and develop trust in your brand that leads to more sales, word-of-mouth marketing, and brand loyalty. You can’t do that if you operate in a silo, so get out there and be social.
5. Find New People to Connect With
Don’t wait for people to find you on Twitter. You need to invest time into finding people who are likely to be interested in your products and services and follow their Twitter Profiles. If you publish great content that is relevant to them, they might follow you back, and then, you can really start to engage with them. Hopefully, they’ll like your posts and share your content with their own audiences, thereby building your brand and your following even more.
To get started, search for people and profiles who match your target customer audience, business partners, industry experts, online influencers, mainstream media, and cannabis media and follow them. Also, get creative and look for influential Twitter profiles for people and businesses that are related to the cannabis industry. For example, search for health and wellness bloggers who might also be cannabis advocates.
6. Reach Out Strategically
Who are the key online influencers whose audiences match your target customer audience perfectly? Which journalists and bloggers write about topics related to your business? When you find these key people, reach out to them strategically.
Start following them on Twitter and liking their content. Retweet their posts and @reply them to comment on the content they publish. You might be able to strike up a conversation. It’s also a good idea to share their content directly, so go to their blogs or news articles and tweet relevant content. Of course, include an @mention in your tweet that not only provides attribution but also puts you on their radar screens.
In time, you can send a direct message to each person and introduce yourself. Make a pitch or suggest a collaboration. It can’t hurt to ask, and if they recognize you, there will be a greater chance that they’ll say yes.
Key Takeaways about Twitter Marketing for Cannabis Businesses and Cannabis-Related Businesses
Like other forms of social media marketing, Twitter marketing for cannabis businesses and cannabis-related businesses is challenging but not impossible. The key to success is using Twitter to indirectly promote your products and services by focusing on educating consumers, raising brand awareness, building brand trust, and boosting word-of-mouth marketing that turns into sales.
Always follow the rules, be careful, and post responsibly so your Twitter account doesn’t get shut down.
Originally published 5/8/19. Updated 5/29/20.
Susan Gunelius, Lead Analyst for Cannabiz Media and author of Marijuana Licensing Reference Guide: 2017 Edition, is also President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her 25-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. She has been working with clients in the cannabis industry since 2015. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing, and she is a popular marketing and branding keynote speaker. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.