Here’s why social media influencers are a tremendous tool for reaching niche audiences
As the name implies, influencers use social media platforms to influence and interact with established networks of followers that can range from the thousands to the high millions. These influencers can include celebrities, gurus, experts, commentators and, of course, those who have devoted themselves to building a social media presence and personality.
When it comes to promoting cannabis, using influencers should be a key component of any social media strategy. Why? Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level.
This means national advertisers, including Google, and major social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have strict rules regarding cannabis that include not being able to show ads to anyone under 21 years of age, a huge percentage of social users.
However, it’s a lot more challenging for advertisers to stop people from listening to word-of-mouth recommendations from admired influencers. That’s why between 2019 and 2021, the influencer advertising market exploded from $6.5 million in value to more than $13.5 billion.
And the power of influencers doesn’t just benefit cannabis. Almost all current markets are using influencers to act as brand ambassadors and to promote their companies for compensation through what is called “affiliate marketing.”
As consumers, the associations we have with brands help us better decide which products to spend our hard-earned money on. Still, would you rather invest in a brand based on name recognition or the recommendation of someone you know, trust or admire?
The truth is: Even if you are a die-hard Coca-Cola fan, you might seriously consider trying a new soda if your favorite musician said it was his favorite drink. Now, imagine that this musician has more than 500,000 followers on Instagram and is being paid to promote this soda he loves so much. This is called “affiliate marketing,” which is one of the most powerful tools in the marketing arsenal of any brand.
With affiliate marketing, a company can pay willing influencers to advertise products to their followers and, in turn, become steadfast brand ambassadors for a whole range of products. As for cannabis, these outspoken advocates of a company can help broadcast the best new business and products and easily monetize the process. To this end, influencers are the best at selling themselves and their uniquely influential personalities.
Some of the most notable influencers include ones who are trying to change the cannabis industry for the better—from business moguls and plant experts to growers and cannabis journalists.
These influencers promote an entire lifestyle around cannabis that resonates with lovers of the plant. Some notable influencers include:
- Rapper, cannabis advocate and venture investor Snoop Dogg;
- Actor, comedian and Houseplant founder Seth Rogen;
- Actor, comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan;
- Singer-songwriter, cannabis advocate and Willie’s Reserve founder Willie Nelson;
- Rapper, cannabis mogul and Cookies founder and CEO Berner;
- Cannabis industry consultant and Allay Cannabis Consulting co-founder and CEO Kim Stuck;
- Cannabis reviewer and YouTube personality Haley420;
- RAW rolling paper and smoking accessories owner and CEO Josh Kesselman;
- Female entrepreneur and Black cannabis advocate Lizzy Jeff;
- Cannabis journalist and Marijuana Moment editor-in-chief Tom Angell;
- Drug researcher, advocate and TV host Hamilton Morris; and
- Grasslands founder and CEO Ricardo Baca.
Cannabis influencers use many different platforms to make a mark, but some of the most important are Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. In fact, Instagram is home to more than a half-million active and current influencers who have built a viable audience and who are promoting products.
This may sound like a lot, but it makes sense considering that the use of Instagram’s image-based grid to promote a curated lifestyle and all the branding within it leaves a lasting impression. With that, more and more companies are ensuring that influencers are part of their broader marketing strategy. But what’s the best way to hire these influencers?
Many of these now-essential influencers have become so popular that their time is actually money. Most influencers have agents or representatives and work through professional channels to sell their influence, so if you want help promoting your product, you need to know the right people instead of just, say, sliding into the DMs.
Finding the right marketing team, with publicists who work with these influencers on a first-name basis, is the first step to fostering lasting relationships that will not only help sell more of your products or services, but help you elevate your brand to the upper echelons of cannaculture.
Grasslands is a bespoke marketing and public-relations agency that deals specifically with cannabis influencers ranging from rappers-turned-entrepreneurs to political changemakers. As a Journalism-Minded Agency™, Grasslands grew out of a long history of reporting on cannabis and, in turn, helped spotlight some of the most influential people in the business. We know our influencers, and we’re ready to help you make a connection. Let’s talk.