CBD advertising rules and even laws are evolving, so a CBD marketing plan has to exercise caution. Learn the safe way to market CBD.
With the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, the federal and almost all state governments consider CBD legal in at least one form or another. While the government has relaxed its stance on this non-psychoactive component of cannabis, some social sites have remained unfriendly to products that contain CBD. As a CBD marketing agency or business, you must navigate some tricky rules for CBD advertising on social sites.
Rules for CBD advertising on social media sites
According to Search Engine Journal, CBD products will generate billions in revenue while remaining extremely profitable over the next few years. Despite the apparent legality and profitability of this sector, most social networks have either restricted or forbidden advertising. This includes such large players as Snapchat, Google, Instagram, and even Facebook.
Can you run CBD advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and other big social media sites?
Even though Facebook’s policies didn’t specifically mention CBD as banned from the site, some advertisers have reported warnings and even account terminations over their promoted posts and feed ads. At first, these restrictions even applied to ads that didn’t mention CBD but pointed to landing pages with these products.
According to Digiday, Facebook may have relaxed this restriction on topical products or any ads that point to landing pages with either topical or ingestible CBD products. Even so, at least one legal firm in the CBD industry, Harris Bricken, says that it’s probably wise to confirm this with your Facebook account rep as even Digiday reported getting this information from an inside source. According to these legal CBD experts, no business or CBD marketing agency can afford to lose their investment in growing a social presence by having their account abruptly closed.
Harris Bricken also mentioned that Twitter has published somewhat more straightforward policies, though they’re still fairly restrictive. Basically, they advise advertisers to get advance authorization before running ads, which is what the law firm advised Facebook marketers to do. In general, advertisers also must only promote topical products. Twitter will also forbid ads targeting a handful of CBD-unfriendly states and anybody under 21.
It looks like social site policies for CBD advertising are still evolving and typically murky. Other platforms, like Google and Instagram, also have restrictions. As a general rule, do your homework before setting up any advertising campaigns to ensure you don’t waste time and worse, risk losing your valuable account.
General rules for CBD product marketing
While you may want to tread carefully to comply with an advertising platform’s terms of service, you particularly don’t want your CBD product marketing to run afoul of the law. For example, South Dakota has not yet legalized CBD at all, and some other states impose restrictions on the percentage of THC that might be found in any legal CBD products. Selling illegal products in these states could potentially result in felony charges. As with various ad platform’s terms of service, state laws might change rapidly too, so your wise to stay updated.
Besides state laws, the FDA has published fairly clear restrictions about the types of advertising they allow, and apparently, these rules are in a state a flux as well. The Broadcast Law Blog issued some commentary about recent updates to CBD advertising rules that my provide some clarity:
- Don’t make any specific health claims in CBD advertising.
- Don’t advertise to children or in states where your product might be illegal.
- Unless you’re marketing an FDA-approved medication, be specifically wary about advertising ingested products.
With all these CBD advertising restrictions, how can you market?
If you’re starting a CBD brand, all of the restrictions on social media posts and other ads can prove quite restrictive. Still, plenty of CBD companies have found channels to help improve awareness of CBD, their products, and their businesses. Big Commerce studied some CBD marketing experts to determine which tactics that have been proven most effective and safe:
- Generate plenty of content: While you need to tread carefully when making an specific medical claims about CBD that haven’t been approved by the FDA, you can certainly produce content that relies upon medical studies or testimonials to help educate consumers about your product’s benefits. This sort of content can help raise awareness of both your product and your brand.
- Focus on organic reach: Since you’re developing content, you might as well use it to your benefit. Some social sites may disallow paid CBD ads, but they might not impose such restrictions upon non-promoted posts on your page. Good keyword research to use in your content can also help you craft articles, graphics, and videos that will be likely to rank organically in search engines.
- Conduct old-fashioned, in-person social outreach: Even though digital marketers tend to think of digital social networking, trade show marketing still provides an important source of marketing to many companies. You’ll have the chance to engage in word-of-mouth marketing, generate buzz, hand out samples, and of course, take some orders.
- Consider affiliate marketing: If you have an affiliate program, you can offer some percentage of sales to other marketers in exchange for their contribution to your revenue and attention. Some affiliates may already have the kinds of websites, social platforms, and blogs that will work well with your product.
- Rely upon influencers: By having influencers spotlight your products, you have a chance to greatly increase awareness of your brand. Even though you might hesitate to tell people your CBD cream helps relieve pain, influencers in the wellness or fitness category can provide their own testimonials.
- Start a subscriber list: You can offer discounts, samples, or other promotional offers to attract subscribers to your email or text messaging list. If these subscribers find their subscriptions valuable, you’re likely to retain them and even encourage them to pass along your message.
The future of CBD marketing
Right now, social media rules, laws, and even interpretations are still in flux. With this kind of marketing, you’re wise to do your research and make careful plans to err on the side of caution. Still, you have plenty of ways to let consumers know about your products and your business. Because of the boom in interest, it’s still a good time for starting a CBD brand.