For local smoke shops, it can be a struggle competing against bigger online businesses. To regain the upper hand, smaller cannabusinesses must find creative ways to reach potential customers faster.
Instagram, the fastest growing social platform of 2017, is a low hanging fruit that some neglect to pick, with more active engagement and monthly active audience than any other platform in 2017. Reduced followers on Facebook and increases in monthly active users who engage with brands on a daily basis are just a few reasons why Instagram is more valuable for businesses than ever.
If you’re looking for better Instagram reach and visibility for your smoke shop, we promote local cannabusinesses who join our wholesale and dropship programs, giving their brand more exposure. If you’re interested in learning how you can benefit from our hyperlocalized, growth-hacking strategies, reach out to us on Instagram.
The number of businesses that use Instagram for marketing doubled in 2017. Because the platform has 200 million monthly users, 40% of whom respond better to visuals when making a purchase, it’s an essential tool for attracting new customers.
Here are the 5 best tips for marketing your smoke shop using Instagram.
Influencers are today's tastemakers, the curators of culture, who enjoy large, loyal followings on social media platforms such as Instagram. Here are some effective strategies to consider when working with influencers.
Vet Influencers First
Never judge an influencer just by their following. An influencer can have tens of thousands of followers, but if most of them are faked or bought, their engagement is much weaker than their large following lets on. Vetting influencers with tools like Social Blade gives you insight into key metrics like audience growth and engagement. That way you know which influencers are worth approaching based on how active, loyal and real their followings actually are.
Often times an influencer will ask for money in exchange for promotion. If you have some extra cash in your budget, it’s important to note that on average, your business will earn $6.50 for every $1 invested in social media influencers. The juice is worth the squeeze as long as the influencer has an actively engaged following. A large number of followers does not mean an influencer's engagement is high. Smaller influencers can convert at a higher rate than larger ones simply because their following is more loyal.
Using hashtags makes your posts discoverable by anyone who searches the hashtags you choose. That increase in discoverability can lead to higher engagement. No hashtags, on the other hand, will leave your post stuck in the mud. Using a variety of hashtag combinations, focusing on high and low volume hashtags will increase visibility. Making sure the hashtags you use are relevant to the image in question will help get your posts in front of the right audiences.
An example of a hashtag that might suit your smoke shop is:
But you don't have to settle for just one. A number of tools find and track hashtags that will resonate with your audience. Using these applications, you can learn from what works and what doesn’t, refining your clutch of hashtags down to the best performing group.
It may be tempting to overload your post with hashtags. But please note that going over 30 hashtags can diminish discoverability, since Instagram will deprioritize your post for excessive, irrelevant hashtag use.
Utilizing an analytics tool like Instagram Insights will give you keen insight into your followers, what they like, and what they don’t.
Instagram Insights gives you all sorts of otherwise hidden information including when your followers are on instagram, their age, location and gender, and which posts they respond to most.
There are a variety of other Instagram analytics apps that will help with scheduling, organizing grids, tracking campaigns, and determining which strategies work, but you can get the same value from Instagram Insights for free.
Analytics such as these will give you a better understanding of who your audience is so you can hone your content to their liking. There are a variety of other analytical apps that will help with scheduling, organizing grids, tracking campaigns, and determining which strategies work.
51% of marketers state that Instagram video content brings in the highest return on investment. Creating great video content is sure to increase engagement, but there are some keys to success you can follow to get the best results.
Instagram videos can be up to 60 seconds long. But Instagram engagement decreases rapidly as video length increases.
If you can show viewers something engaging within the first 30 seconds, it’s more likely that they’ll stay on your profile and remember your brand.
You should always include captions explaining your videos. Since 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound, it’s likely that the same percentage carries over to Instagram videos.
People don't want to play audio when they're at work or in public. In these situations, captions will give your content context when sound can not.
Instagram Stories and Other Features
It's also important to make use of the helpful new video features Instagram offers:
Instagram Stories - Short videos that can be viewed for up to 24 hours. You can add visual filters, captions, emojis, tagged locations, and more.
Highlighted Stories - You can highlight any Instagram story you post so it stays just under your Instagram bio, a great opportunity to show visitors what your brand is all about or spotlight promotions and new products.
Instagram Live - A live video feed that Instagrammers can watch and comment on. This is an excellent way to get in better touch with potential customers, promote your products, run live contests, and more.
Consistently posting when you know your followers are most active is essential. But which times are best?
This is a topic of debate among Instagram marketers. For instance, 50% of social media managers think that posting between 7 and 9 PM is optimal, while others think the best time is actually around 5 PM (on Wednesday no less.) But the truth is, every audience differs in how and when they use Instagram. You'll need to dig into analytics about your specific audience in order to figure out the best times to post. That means looking into Instagram's Business Profile Analytics to see the top times that your audience is on.
Once you know which days and times are optimal for your audience, you can consistently post using all the features and tools Instagram has to offer.
We Promote Local Smoke Shops on Instagram
(Our Instagram promotion of wholesale partner Smoking Buddha, a local Illinois shop.)
If you're looking to get more out of your social media marketing, our wholesale program is a good option. Not only do we empower our partners with lower wholesale prices, we work alongside them to promote their shop using a unique hyperlocalized social media strategy that puts more customers in their stores. If you're interested in finding out more, reach out today.
Thomas Gregorich is a writer at The VaporNation Blog, a Los Angeles-based online publication focused on providing balanced and trustworthy information about vaporizers. His blogs are visited by an average of 60,000 readers each month. His goal? To help build awareness about the true benefits and downsides of vaping.
As a vaporizer critic for the past two years, Thomas does not recommend that people take up vaping if they don't already smoke. He also does not claim that vaping is healthier than smoking. He does, however, provide information on how to choose and use vaporizers for those who already practice smoking or vaping.
Thomas bought his first vaporizer after looking for an alternative to smoking, a practice which he found to be odorous and wasteful. Since then, he's become an enthusiast, reviewing the most popular devices to provide readers with a balanced perspective. His aim is to offer responsible advice and information that ensures the continued happiness, health, and safety of his readers.
Thomas graduated from University of Massachusetts, Amherst and lives with his family in the Los Angeles region. You can read his articles on High Times, Chicagoist, Leafly, Westword, Leaf Science, Green Rush Daily, Ganjapreneur, and more.