How to Use Instagram for Your Dispensary

instagram for dispensaries

Unlike LinkedIn, Instagram is quite strict with cannabis accounts. There are many horror stories of cannabis dispensary Instagram accounts being taken down, forcing the brand to start at 0 after building up thousands of followers. Sometimes you could be following every rule in the book, and Instagram will still deactivate your cannabis account. Even MJBizDaily had their Instagram account closed down for the first time not too long ago. So, how do you go about using Instagram and tip-toe around the landmines to avoid getting shut down? Well, there’s no sure-fire way, but there are several points you can cover to keep your cannabiz account alive and well. 

Protect Your Account

As a cannabis dispensary account on Instagram, you’re going to need to be extra careful. Instagram’s community guidelines state that the social media platform “doesn’t allow people or organizations to use the platform to advertise or sell marijuana, regardless of the seller’s state or country.” In short, you’re not allowed to advertise the sale of cannabis products on Instagram, at least directly. However, you can make your audience aware that you sell cannabis products or services. Just make sure you’re not soliciting any sales upfront. Instagram is not the friendliest social media platform for cannabis, so here are some tips to protect your cannabis dispensary account from being shut down:

  • Do not sell cannabis – We’ve said it recently, but it’s worth saying again. Instagram will shut down your account if you directly sell cannabis. 
  • Don’t use shadowban hashtags – If you’re shadowbanned, that means your posts aren’t discoverable, cutting down your audience drastically. Avoid using shadowbanned hashtags–like #cannabis and #weed–and check to see if certain content or hashtags are shadowbanned. All you have to do is search the hashtag. If you get only a handful of posts for that hashtag, it’s most likely shadowbanned. 
  • Make a backup account – Create a backup Instagram account for your dispensary just in case your current one is banned. Sometimes you can be doing everything right, but Instagram will still shut down your cannabis account. 
  • Focus on educating your audience – Advocacy and educational posts are the safest content you can produce on Instagram. Not to mention, it’s hard to find a legitimate reason to shut down an educational account. 

What to Do if Your Account is Deactivated

You’ve done everything right, but Instagram deactivates your cannabis dispensary account anyway. Now what?

  1. First, you’ll want to head to the Instagram Help Center
  2. Once you respond with a ‘yes’ to having a business account, you’ll be asked to fill out some basic information (name, Instagram username, country, email address). 
  3. Next, you’ll need to upload one of the following: local business license tax filing, invoice, certificate of formation, articles of incorporation, utility bill, proof of domain name registration, or order fulfillment documentation. 
  4. Once you hit send, Instagram will send you a follow-up email containing the next steps. This could take hours or a few days. 

Remember that you should always keep your phone number and email on your cannabis dispensary Instagram account updated. You cannot call or contact Instagram directly, and the only way to reactivate your account is by receiving a code via your email or phone. 

Additionally, you can try contacting Facebook Support. However, you’ll need an Ad account for your business Instagram. The goal here is to get the chat open for use. Create a business Instagram account and connect it to your Facebook. Then, run an ad–choose the lowest amount. Let the ad run for a few hours so statistics can be gathered. As your ad is running, you should have access to the Facebook Chat feature where you can present your case for reactivating your account. Note that the Facebook Chat feature may appear, but it’s not guaranteed. 

What Can You Post?

With so many restrictions and the threat of Instagram shutting down your cannabis dispensary account, what should you post? As stated earlier, educational posts are a safe bet. Create posts about the benefits of cannabis, including how it helps in dealing with anxiety and focusing during a workout. Create posts for the canna-curious, including common reactions to cannabis and what activities to try while high. Additionally, you can promote the benefits of your new cannabis products–however, do not include the price or try to directly sell it. You can also post about events you’re going to or running, cannabis holidays (like 420 and Oil Day), and memes. Restrictions spark creativity, so think outside of the box!

If you need further help with an advertising plan, please reach out to us

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