Want to use LinkedIn for the cannabis biz? Here’s how…
LinkedIn, it’s arguably THE place to network for work, often touted as the “Professional Facebook.” But this space isn’t where you post cat videos. This is where professionals go to showcase experience, career successes, and build an image of competency or affiliation. But, make no mistake, LinkedIn is still social media, and like most forms of traditional social media, it can be seen as discriminatory toward cannabis with the potential red flags that could violate the Ad Guidelines the site puts out annually.
While other “professional” networks exist in cannabis, LinkedIn is still the most mainstream and while the other sites, like Leafwire, have sprung up and want to be THE place to network in cannabiz, they simply don’t have the volume of users and exposure to such a broad audience.
But if LinkedIn is where professionals go to network and connect, why not cannabis professionals too? Here are some tips to help you make the most of LinkedIn:
- There are groups for virtually everything on LinkedIn, so if you’re looking to connect with other dispensary owners, find jobs in the cannabis industry or even join a group for cannabis lawyers, accountants, or other types of ancillary services, there are some great groups for you on LinkedIn. Some to consider? The Cannabis Group is a relevant collection of group members whose goal is to discuss the cannabis sector, read insightful content and resources for cannabis entrepreneurs, and connect with potential business partners, employees, and ancillary service operators for cannabis businesses. Cannabis Industry Journal a B2B digital trade journal that offers all kinds of interesting news, guides, and resources for cannabis industry professionals.
- What will you say to people when you start networking? You need to be prepared with an ice-breaker introduction and craft an elevator pitch that piques people’s interest. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking there is a rote introduction or pitch that will work for all purposes. BUT – you aren’t a used car salesman – craft your profile carefully and be sure you are prepared to tell others why you’d like to connect with them. Hint – you shouldn’t be pitching them for a sale.
- Content production – keep the big picture in mind for your audience. The cannabis industry changes minute by minute, so understand what is going to be most relevant to your audience and make an effort to share that content. Think about what you hope to achieve with your content posts – is there a call to action? Are you using images to drive interest and attention? What your content provides is an opportunity for people to find you and what you have to say worth repeating or sharing.
- Use LinkedIn as a research tool for your future success and as a follow-up forum after an event. Before and after you attend a networking event connect with event organizers and key people on LinkedIn, and make an effort to network in person based on pre-work for your potential partners. Share content like pictures, videos, and messages from the event. related to the event, use the event hashtags, and tag people in your posts.
- Encourage your employees, connections, and partners to share your posts. The key to any networking is to meet new people and build a strong professional network. The more your posts are shared, the greater the potential for an ever-growing network. Reciprocate by sharing relevant posts you see from others and providing new information to the people in your network.
Finally – keep in mind that until cannabis is federally legal, social media platforms will continue to have restrictions, so don’t ever advertise sales of marijuana or violate the guidelines of the platform’s policies for content. Avoid coming across as spam-like or overly aggressive with your outreach. You may find that diving into LinkedIn for your cannabis business is like finding out that your overly corporate former boss’s boss is actually interested in talking with you about the cannabis industry and knows people who know people and can exponentially increase your professional network.