By Cheryl Shuman
If you want your customers (and fans) to be more engaged with your dispensary, infused products company or other cannabis-related brand on Facebook, the answer is simple: be more engaging.
You need to be the social media equivalent of the life of the party. Tell funny stories, get personal, be personable and catch their eye with something visually appealing. Why put time into social media? Developing a big following – specifically on Facebook – can pay huge business dividends, allowing you to strengthen bonds with your patients, generate buzz and win over new customers.
That said, here are my top 12 ideas for Facebook success in the cannabis industry:
1. Expand Your Fanbase with Overt Invitations
Facebook logos are so ubiquitous they are easily overlooked – even if the logo is clearly on your website with the words “follow us!” People are busy. Unless you ask them to Facebook “like” you, it may not occur to them to do it. For more likes, consider offering an incentive, such as a discount or coupon. It doesn’t have to be expensive to have value.
2. Show Me The Visuals
Research shows that photo albums, pictures and videos increase engagement by as much as 180% over posts without such enhancements. Secret tip: Asking fans to write captions on your photos increases engagement 5.5 times more than a standard post. Use pictures in your posts to catch a reader’s attention; envelop the picture with clever and compelling content to keep them engaged; and relate your images to your product or service, driving them to custom landing pages on your company’s website.
3. People Love To Laugh
Facebook posts and pages that make people smile – or better yet, laugh – often have high levels of engagement. Users want to share humorous images, comics and memes with their friends. Humor can be as simple as a photo of a cute baby or animal with a funny caption.
4. Get Your Employees in the Spotlight
Putting your workers front-and-center humanizes your company. Post photos of your employees on and off the job and share their roles, hidden talents or even hobbies. Sharing images from holiday parties and award ceremonies or other work events are other ways to highlight your brand culture. An insider’s view of your company makes your Facebook followers feel involved and gives them a special connection to you.
5. Be Responsive
As data from MMJ Business Daily’s new Marijuana Business Factbook reveals, many patients are willing to switch dispensaries for better customer service. Yet the majority of companies do not respond to comments made about them on Facebook. If a fan brings up an issue with your company, try to respond quickly and in a polite manner. Address their issues publicly, and if a particular matter is personal or confidential in nature, have them email or call you with their concerns.
6. Post at Optimal Times
Take your customer demographic into consideration when planning Facebook posts. Don’t post when it’s most convenient for you – do it when they are most likely to be on Facebook themselves. If your customers are more likely to be online at night, don’t post at 10 a.m., as your post will have been buried by 10 to 12 hours worth of other posts by the time your fans are surfing. Best times for dispensaries and infused product brands may be during lunch, as well as from 4-5 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. Dispensaries may also see an increase in engagement on weekends when customers have downtime to do some online surfing.
7. Consider Frequency
The average half-life of a Facebook post is about three hours; because of this, it is a good practice to post at a higher frequency to get the most engagement out of your posts. When your post is still part of the News Feed or is a highlighted story still receiving a steady flow of engagement, it’s considered “alive.” If you have multiple items to post, consider staggering them over the best times of day (and night) instead of posting them all at once.
8. Discuss Current Events
Stay involved in current conversations. If a holiday is around the corner or there is a major news story or event forthcoming or having occurred recently, odds are your fans are talking about it. Post an image of something you are thankful for on Thanksgiving or a romantic image on Valentine’s Day. After a tragedy, post your sincere condolences – it gives your brand a human face and inclines your fans to respond as well, connecting them to you and your brand.
9. Enable Evangelism
Chances are your Facebook followers are already evangelists for legalization and the efficacy of medical cannabis. So, by posting educational facts and Infographics, you give them the tools they’re looking for to spread the word to their friends about the cause… and about you as well.
10. Ask Questions
Try asking a question on your Facebook page to get fans engaged. Questions that ask “where,” “when” or “should” are more successful at engaging than asking “why.” Asking for feedback on your products and services will prompt customers to express themselves, something that Facebook users love to do.
11. Run Promotional Specials
Many dispensaries already run promotional specials in their Facebook feed. That’s because it works, especially if you include an image that features the special plus your logo and contact information. However, don’t make the mistake of ONLY running promotional specials on your feed. It’s not only bad for business – your customers have to love you for other reasons such as your friendly staff.
That’s why my most critical Facebook marketing tip of all is:
12. Variety Is The Spice Of Life So Mix It Up
Mix up the type of content and add more variety in what you post on your Facebook page. Going from humorous to heartfelt in one post to the next will make your page more entertaining and interesting.
Cheryl Shuman specializes in consumer marketing as well as public relations and has been a featured guest on Fox Business News, the New Ricki Lake Show and CBS News.