Overcoming Marijuana Stigma: The Role of Social Media
Marijuana use is legal in several US states, but there’s still much social and political stigma surrounding it. Some issues plague the industry, which adds to the general public’s negative perception of cannabis. Unfortunately, these misconceptions prevent those who would necessarily benefit from the medicinal properties of marijuana from even considering it as an alternative method of therapy.
Cannabis use in the age of social media dominance
The critical commodity peddled on social media is information. And we all know that these channels can go either way. Every sector today recognizes the importance of capitalizing on social media to market, advertise, communicate, and educate people about products and services. And the cannabis industry is no exception. Today, there are platforms dedicated to demystifying cannabis use for the public, such as online communities, cannabis podcast, and many more. These platforms not only provide an avenue for conversation but also help educate people to change their negative views about cannabis.
Social media has a complicated relationship with cannabis
Although many people today can freely post about their activities on social media, there’s still a strict rule against cannabis advertising. So, while a private person can post about cannabis, content shouldn’t in any way promote use. But despite these restrictions, cannabis companies still maintain a strong relationship with the big three of social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). The primary reason being these channels have massive reach and influence among potential consumers. Instead of conventional advertising, cannabis companies use social media to educate and post about marijuana as a lifestyle choice, not a product being promoted.
Social media content is fleeting and urgent
Indeed, social media platforms can paint a pretty picture and eliminate most of the stigma associated with cannabis. That’s why companies are still willing to take the risk, despite the heavy restrictions. The unfortunate reality is that one mistake can undermine all the effort put into curating content. All your posts and followers could be wiped out clean because of a single infraction.
But why is it worth the effort? Simply because approximately 69% of American adults use Facebook, 37% are active on Instagram, while 22% use Twitter daily. These numbers are enough to convince any cannabis company to have a social media presence and reach out to a potentially massive consumer base.
Which platform is the most effective?
Out of the three leading platforms, Instagram turns out to be the top favorite among cannabis companies. And there are two reasons for this: first, posts on Instagram focus on visuals, and second, the site’s demographics relate most with cannabis users. Any company that wants to change the public’s perception of marijuana, there’s no better way to do it than curate beautiful Instagram posts that create a story and aim to educate.
Additionally, Instagram is famous for influencers that share their lifestyle to followers. Tapping into these influencers will make it easier to reach out to a specific demographic, such as young adults, women, millennials, and even the older population.
There is still much that can change when it comes to social media policies on cannabis advertising. But for now, these platforms play a pivotal role in improving the public’s perception of marijuana use. User-generated content that helps educate and inform people are more effective than any amount of advertisement.