BRANDING CANNABIS: USING INFLUENCERS FOR YOUR CANNABIS BRAND

As the name implies, influencers on social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic, to the point where they can influence their audiences’ purchasing decisions. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to them. 

Working with influencers is a smart and effective way to promote your cannabis products without worrying about legal headaches, but how do you pick the right influencer? Keep reading for 5 tips to help you get started.

1. SET YOUR OBJECTIVES

Identify your campaign goals before you begin and include considerations that focus on the influencer’s strong sides – like engaging the audience, creating their own content, and building awareness.

2. CRAFT YOUR STORY

At its core, influencer marketing is about storytelling. Your own brand narrative should give your business an identity beyond your product, and something for consumers to relate to and connect with. Keep in mind that there is a fine line between telling an influencer what to post and creating an inspiring, branded story through their unique lens. Influencers who authentically connect with your brand story tend to be the best storytellers. 

3. IDENTIFYING THE RIGHT INFLUENCER

Influencers are typically specialized in a specific topic or category, and by the size of their audience. Mapping out the relevant context for your brand is essential to improving relevance in the target audience.

The question for you as an advertiser is: Who do you want representing and endorsing your brand, and why? Put another way: by studying a given cannabis influencer’s audience, can you identify people you want to engage with? 

4. PICK YOUR STRATEGY

Deciding what type of influencer marketing strategy you will use will fall somewhere between direct marketing, affiliate marketing, or brand ambassadorship. Most brands use a combination of these strategies!

DIRECT & AFFILIATE MARKETING 

Direct

Through paid messaging, influencers show your content to their viewers directly, rather than through an advertising company like a newspaper or website.

  • Giveaways and contests are a popular form of direct marketing. *Does not apply to all states. 
  • Can also be prepared statements or designed content for the influencer to share
  • Influencers directly state that it is a paid campaign with a specific brand
  • Used for reach and brand awareness

 

Affiliate

Affiliate marketing is a strategy where you give influencers incentives or commissions for each customer they bring to you or sales they make.

  • Influencers demonstrate the usage of the product in a much more natural way.
  • The person who is demonstrating is a trusted source to their viewers.
  • There are direct metrics to measure the effectiveness
  • Influencers will need to disclose that they are affiliated with your business 

BRAND AMBASSADORS 

This is the deepest form of partnership, in which an influencer becomes, in essence, a representative of (or ambassador for) your brand.

  • Requires a more concerted effort to reach out and engage on your part
  • The negotiation of a potentially more elaborated compensation structure
  • Many cannabis brands find that forging a solid partnership with a high-quality, creative and engaging influencer can lead to major success.

5. GO BIG OR GO HOME! 

If you’re ready to jump into influencer marketing, don’t just dip your toes in. Use multiple channels, influencers, and touchpoints to create an elaborate digital presence with little overhead, and increase product mentions and audience engagement with your brand. And using different influencers will allow you to reach different audiences, as well as tap into different influencers’ unique ways of framing your product.

Influencer marketing can be incredibly effective for a new cannabis brand with personality or with a good market opportunity. We specialize in helping cannabis brands stand out the right way, while playing by the rules for cannabis marketing.