It’s been a while since the general public has linked Cannabidiol (CBD) products with drug use. Since its legalization, CBD has jumped from the shady corners of society into the hearts and minds of wellness enthusiasts worldwide.

The Market for CBD

CBD is a Cannabis extract containing none of the psychoactive properties of the Cannabis plant. THC is the component imparting this particular quality, and it is entirely absent from Cannabidiol. What CBD purveyors claim their products do offer, however, is numerous calming and health benefits.

CBD products cover an enormous range of options. You can either apply them topically, like creams and lotions, eat them in the form of sweets or inhale them via vapor or smoke.

The market for these products is enormous and experts expect the industry to be worth a whopping $16b by the year 2025. Furthermore, almost 20% of the US population has admitted to trying these products either as supplements or alternatives to traditional medical treatments.

The CBD Marketing Challenge

Despite the substance’s legality, even top CBD brands are still finding it hard to advertise on Social Media. These regulations are a huge obstacle between CBD brands and their potential customers.

Whether this is due to a genuine misconception over CBD, or if there is another agenda at play is unclear. What is clear is that the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube are not fans of having CBD products advertised on their platforms. And that they can react with extreme prejudice when brands contravene their advertising policies.

Stories of small CBD businesses having their Facebook pages shut down abound. One such instance has even lead to a former customer filing a lawsuit against them.

Instagram, owned by Facebook, also ban accounts advertising CBD products. Although there are fewer stories involving Instagram where users have no recourse.

There are similar restrictions for Twitter and Pinterest. Both of these platforms apply an overall ban on advertising Cannabis-related products.

Since it’s AI algorithm is performing many of these platforms’ approval processes, some ads have managed to sneak past the restrictions. Even when a human being performs the moderation, approval is often up to their own subjective interpretation of regulations. This can lead to some CBD ads getting through. Either way, it’s not a gamble CBD companies are willing to base their marketing campaigns on.

This approach to advertising regulation is having a very negative effect on small CBD businesses. For many of these, social media marketing is a crucial component in establishing their brand.

How are CBD Brands Dealing With Restrictions?

Despite these restrictions, some members of the global marketing community have found a way around them. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. And there aren’t many people as inventive as an entrepreneur with his/her back to the wall.

Here are some of the ways these marketing mavericks have managed to bypass the policies constraining their growth.

These tactics are based on differentiating between paid and organic advertising. “Organic” refers to engaging with your audience through typical posts rather than promoting them using advertising mechanics.

The other strategy is paid to advertise. As mentioned before though, it’s quite risky. Let’s discuss this first.

Paid Marketing

They Watch Their Messaging

CBD brands run a severe risk when attempting to run ads for their products. The punishment, especially on Facebook, is brutal.

It is worth bearing in mind a recent shift in Facebook’s advertising policies. It has allowed brands to advertise topical CBD products. Sadly, they still ban advertising the ingestible varieties.

However, some companies have had limited success in getting their ads to bypass these algorithms by simply avoiding certain terms.

They avoid mentioning the active ingredients, opting for vague wellness-themed terminology rather than saying “CBD” or “hemp”. They steer clear of directly addressing the symptoms these products claim to cure. This is something the FDA is not a fan of.

What many of these brands do is employ digital marketing specialists who understand the nuances of creating content in this space.

Organic Marketing

They Embrace Influencers

Few strategies are as effective as influencer marketing. Don’t just take our word for it. Marketing researchers have poured their collective energies into this topic and results have been largely unanimous.

Potential customers respond well to seeing a social media personality endorse a product. Even if they know a brand has sponsored the endorsement.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking these results are dependent on involving social media giants who boast millions of followers. Even micro-influencers (those with followings below 10K) have enormous pull with their respective audiences. A recent opinion piece published by industry leaders Royal CBD, suggested consumers place even more trust in “average Joes” than the Social Media juggernauts.

While the latter may offer greater reach, it’s the smaller niche influencers driving engagement. Successful CBD brands invest time and money in finding the ideal online personality to endorse them.

They Focus on Content

Yes, this is simply the best practice when it comes to social media marketing. Most brands with a solid digital footprint understand this and have no problem applying it.

However, when organic marketing is literally all you have in your arsenal, creativity and uniqueness are doubly important.

So while this may seem redundant, here are the basics of what successful CBD brands are doing when creating posts promoting their products:

  • They provide useful information speaking directly to their intended audience.
  • They package the information in a creative way that keeps the audience engaged.
  • Their content is stylistically differentiated from those of their competitors.
  • They post content at times when their target audience is most likely to be online.

They Build Strategic Partnerships

By cross-promoting the social media accounts Sympatico with their interests, CBD brands create beneficial relationships.

By regularly giving exposure to brands sharing their ethos, they increase the chances of having their own content shared. This results in very focused reach and engagement with a highly targeted audience. This is a very cost-effective way to build goodwill and obtain valuable traffic.