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Influencer Marketing & The Cannabis Industry

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Influencer Marketing. A term we’ve been hearing more of over the past decade and will continue to in the years to come. With social media exploding and people utilizing this channel of communication, alongside using the top 10 SEO companies in places like San Diego and transforming it into a business, influencer marketing has become bigger than anyone could have foreseen. What is influencer marketing? How does it work? Is influencer marketing worth the large budget it demands? All questions businesses in every industry try to determine as influencer marketing continues to grow. We may not have all the answers just yet but keep reading…

We’re dissecting everything we do know about influencer marketing and even got some insight from the source, the influencers themselves! After this introduction and quick guide to social media influencer marketing keep coming back because we will have all the info and news for you. In every upcoming issue on our “Influencer Pages”, we will be highlighting this topic in all aspects. A section of the magazine that will showcase influencers and cover everything you need to know about social media influencer marketing in the cannabis industry and beyond. Of course, businesses will still need to implement other marketing tactics to be noticed as influencer marketing is not the be-all and end-all of marketing, and businesses may even use sites like https://www.sheerid.com/personalized_marketing_communication_and_promotion/ to implement different marketing strategies but as long as a business has a well-rounded marketing strategy, they’ll likely notice their brand getting noticed.

Brands are estimated to spend up to $22 billion on influencer marketing in the next few years, yes BILLION. Maybe small compared to the $150 billion spent on advertising but remember, advertising dates back to the 1920s, where influencer marketing only began about 10 years ago. So, what is it? Influencer marketing is governed by the same idea as a celebrity endorsement. To put it simply, companies will partner with influencers in their industry, as a result, their brand awareness is increased. The immense value of social media influencers lies in the ever-rising popularity of social media platforms and the creative, visual content. Also, each influencer works to carefully curate their audience, almost like little families that interact daily. The influencers’ followers trust them, they know the platforms, and can create immediate returns for brands. Influencers leverage their popularity on the platform in order to make deals with these brands. In essence, the more followers they have, the more valuable they are to a brand. Influencers operating on Instagram, for example, can boost their growth on the platform organically using growth services like those of Nitreo – https://nitreo.com/instagram-growth-service. This way they can appeal more to these brands looking to forge relationships with online personalities.

Reach vs. Niche. The crossroad you come to when deciding what kind of influencer is right for your company or campaign. Macro-influencers are those in the “reach” category, including those with very large followings 500k+ up to celebrities. Micro-influencers are those in the “niche” group, they have a smaller but targeted following and high engagement. The macro-influencers have huge fan bases and mass reach on social media. Imagine how many eyes your brand would have from one post on an influencer page with 20 million followers. Micro-influencers may not have as far of a reach, but they do have more genuine connections with their followers and a lot higher audience engagement. “We are more relatable to consumers because we are more similar to the average consumer compared to a celebrity buying Gucci,” Kirin of @sunshinespiffly (55.6k followers) told us. Both groups hold a ton of value but also have their pros and cons. Audience engagement is also a very big factor when it comes to influencer marketing. Which type of influencer is right for you can be determined according to your needs and budget.

These online creators have become so trusted that influencer marketing is now a vital part of businesses large and small. Alongside advertising, influencer marketing is becoming one of the heavy hitters when it comes to propelling a brand to success. When conducted effectively, influencer marketing can be one of the most valuable aspects of the business marketing sector. And when something has been known to work, you’re hesitant in making changes that could jeopardize this. But when the roles are reversed and something isn’t working, you’re striving to find ways to improve your marketing strategy as soon as possible. The best way to do this would be to look for a company like Epsilon, (see their site here for more information) who would be able to help you drive personalized communications with your audience. Why? To keep them interested of course. The more you engage with your customers, the more likely they are of using your product or service, and when you have influencers assisting you along the way, you’re only going to see your business grow. Brands are not only seeing direct return when working with influencers, but they are also creating relationships with individuals starting and leading trends in their industry. Even Kirin of @sunshinespliffy (55.6k followers) concurred telling us, “We (influencers) have such a strong pull on consumer trends, wants, and styles”. These influencers know the space and are experts in their industries. So do your research to find the best matches and the more authentic the better.

Influencer marketing in the cannabis space is a bit different from most mainstream industries. Due to the long, bumpy road of legalization, influencer marketing in the cannabis industry has probably gone through the most recent and drastic transitions. Before the start of legalization, social media and cannabis were enemies. Any social media including anything cannabis-related was highly regulated and prohibited leading to profiles being deleted and banned. Even in the transition, cannabis influencers and brands alike, still face some barriers while navigating social media marketing. For example, cannabis brands are unable to write off marketing expenses, so they do not have the same budget as brands in other industries. This directly affects cannabis influencers negatively as they have to adjust their rates lower than an influencer in most other industries. Bess of @imcannabess (94.1k followers) gives us more insight on the impact, “We can’t do paid google ad words or paid advertisements on social media, so influencer marketing helps us work around that“. Influencers and brands are working together to jump the hurdles and utilize cannabis social media marketing. Over the past 5 years, we’ve taken huge steps in the right direction to allow the cannabis industry to utilize the social media space just as any other industry would.

With total cannabis legalization on the horizon, more and more opportunities arise in the social media space. We are seeing dispensary tours, entertainment industry product placement, brand/product launch campaigns, large events, and almost everything other industries are doing with influencer marketing. Fewer cannabis profiles are being deleted and banned and there are even new platforms and technology that are pushing cannabis content to the forefront. Cannabis influencers can now show the cannabis world on social media and are driving growth. There are cannabis creative agencies, modeling agencies, marketing agencies, public relations agencies, and more. We even have celebs, like Rhianna, Wiz Khalifa, and Seth Rogan advocating and identifying with cannabis. It’s an exciting and powerful time for the cannabis industry. We only predict expansion in the cannabis social media industry and that’s another reason for our “Influencer Pages” section.

Is influencer marketing worth it and the expenses it comes with? The answer is yes absolutely! But only if you are using the tools and tricks to analyze so that you can determine the reach, effectiveness, and impact. Social media analytics and measurement tools such as engagement calculators can help measure the success influencer marketing has. As we said, do the research! Just like any other marketing tool, influencer marketing must be targeted, and quality is equally or more important than quantity. Being informed about the cannabis influencer marketing space is the best thing you can do to successfully utilize it.

This expansion is also giving cannabis influencers opportunities they did not have access to before. Some of these creators are starting businesses, creating events and even more. There are even award shows and festivals globally dedicated to cannabis and expanding. What started as wanting to share photography, hobbies, and favorite brands turned into something so much more for @imcannabess (94.1k followers), she tells us, “my page evolved by staying true to myself, all the things on my account are ME and the things I love combined with weed“. In upcoming stories, you can count on the best, most important content in the cannabis influencer industry. Next issue you’ll get the insider scoop on cannabis influencer Marley of @medicatedmarley (223k followers) a badass Las Vegas cannabis influencer, model, rapper, business owner and more. Stay tuned because you’re not going to want to miss her!

Braelee Conticchio is a public relations specialist who also has expertise in social media, influencer marketing, journalism, media, advertising, events, and more. After graduating from the University of Rhode Island, she spent 5+ years living and working in New York City mainly in public relations in the following industries: beauty, health, fashion, cannabis, lifestyle, and hospitality. After moving to California, she switched her focus to concentrate on the cannabis industry. Braelee now enjoys covering any aspect of the cannabis industry with a focus on providing the newest and most interesting information to readers. Braelee also works with NUGL on their influencer marketing program and hosts weekly Instagram Live sessions featuring Canna influencers, brands, dispensaries, and more!

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