6 Ways to Increase Online Engagement at your Cannabis Event

The digital age has made a big impact on retail and other offline events, but it is still possible to bridge the gap of the offline and online worlds. Whether you have a retail location, a booth or tent at a trade show, or are throwing a private event, it’s important to keep one question in mind: How can you maximize the exposure of your cannabis event or location – online? The answer is by creating opportunities for online posts.

With 800 million active users, Instagram should be a key component of your marketing strategy. Looking at the psychology of human interaction there are two fundamental human needs – wanting to belong and wanting to feel important – that social media, and Instagram in particular, have found a way of targeting. When we see people similar to ourselves or who we admire doing fun things or visiting unique locations, it not only exposes us to new opportunities to feel seen or relevant but it sparks the desire to experience our own moment.

Knowing this, businesses can do a few things to create opportunities for people to share their product, store, event, or service. Here are a few creative ways how:

Create an Instagrammable Space 

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Think: The Museum of Ice Cream or the LOVE sculpture in NYC . These installations have proven the power of creating shareable spaces. Creating a sense of fun, creativity, and beauty the minute someone steps into a space can differentiate your brand and create a sense of connection and nostalgia.

Do you have a retail location? Create a stunning mural or backdrop (with or without your logo) where people can stop to take a photo.

Are you exhibiting at a conference where tons of industry executives will be walking the floor? Design your booth with the intention of stopping people in their tracks. For a small investment, you could turn your booth into a buzz-worthy location that everyone will be talking about.

Are you throwing a private event? Set up multiple locations at the venue for people to pose with their friends, take selfies, or capture their experience. A beautifully curated moment is the basis for memories.

Establish a Custom Hashtag 

As more and more people come in contact with your shareable moment, it’s key to brand the moment with a creative hashtag. Hashtags make it easier to find posts or information about the event or space, and encourages browsing. By utilizing a consistent hashtag, people can see the magnitude of an event’s popularity and contribute their own snapshot of the experience. P.S. Check your analytics for what’s working – we’re looking for good numbers in online engagement.

Remove the Barrier of Sharing

Create a moment that’s worthy of sharing, take the guesswork out of hashtagging and tagging by creating a sign, poster or banner nearby. If you’re into QR codes, the opportunities to get creative is endless – aggregate posting, encourage subscribing, or allow for check-in deals. Think through your main goal and get creative with the route.

Generate a Snapchat Geofilter

Snapchat has a unique feature that the other platforms don’t capitalize well on- the geo-filter option. It’s a trendy option that will encourage engagement – that few brands are utilizing in a thoughtful way. Create buzz around your event by making a gif or set up geocache treasures for people to find. Don’t know what to do? Google.

Combine the Cannabis Event with an Online Contest 

The reward system is tried and true. Brainstorm with your marketing team and executives on the goals you’ve set for the year or quarter. Are you trying to increase customer loyalty? Go for the loyalty programs. Are you looking to spread awareness about a new product to increase sales? Go with a giveaway. There may be challenges within the cannabis industry that may make these things a little more challenging to accomplish, but they can be done.

Invite Influencers & Industry Thought Leaders

Influencers are often able to create a loyal and persuasive connection with many people they’ve never met. When you kick off or market the importance of an event, curate a list of influencers to attend. Influencers increase your exposure to their following, potentially inspiring others to engage online with the brand, product, or event you’re pushing the attention to. Remember that the funnel should always lead to where you want it to go.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not invest the time or the thought into how you can turn a moment into a lead-nurturing opportunity. Every offline instance of your brand should tie into an online opportunity. Remember to think about the guests- every detail at your cannabis event should be thought through and should feel seamless. It will mean the difference in numbers. Now go offline and get creative!

Let’s Make Some Work Together.

Bri Smith

Bri Smith is the host of The Grass Class, a podcast and vlog that dives into the culture and business of cannabis. As a Los Angeles transplant from the land of lakes, cheese, and The Packers, she brings Midwest nice to the West coast advertising and marketing industries. She likes talking to dogs in weird voices and long blunts on the beach.