There are so many marijuana businesses popping up now that marijuana is mainstream, and I only see that trend growing more and more as time goes by. It seems like everyone and their grandma is scrambling to get in on the marijuana industry. I get e-mails daily from people asking what I think about a marijuana business that they just heard about, or what I think about a product or service that they are offering themselves.
Something that is greatly lacking for most businesses in the marijuana industry is a strong presence on the web. This can also be said about most marijuana organization's websites, as well as most marijuana campaign's websites. I understand that not everyone has access to the resources it requires to dominate the internet, but there are a lot of marijuana businesses out there that have enormous resources, yet dedicate only a sliver of those resources to their internet pursuits.
Harnessing the internet and social media is something that should be a top priority for all marijuana businesses. It's no secret that more and more people get their information from the internet as opposed to traditional forms of media such as newspapers and magazines. When people want to know something about a marijuana business, chances are one of the first things they do is Google the company's name to see what pops up.
If a marijuana business doesn't take their search engine optimization seriously, chances are the person searching online will never find them. The odds then become very likely that the person will find someone else offering a similar product or service that takes their online pursuits more seriously. Or even worse, the person finds a webpage that bashes the business. If you are a marijuana business owner, do you want someone coming across your message first, or one of your competitors?
The internet and social media can be a great source of customers. Also, the internet and social media can be a very affordable form of marketing and branding. I see a lot of marijuana businesses dumping enormous sums of money and tons of time trying to get into print media, and/or creating outdated marketing campaigns that don't involve the internet or social media. These same companies have five 'likes' on Facebook, and when I Google the exact name of the company, they are no where to be found in the returns. It's time to get into the 21st century people!
So how does a marijuana business harness the internet and social media? The first option is to do it yourself. There's nothing wrong with digging in, doing as much research as possible, and building your online skill set. For the less tech savvy crowd, hiring someone else to do it is a good option. It seems expensive to some people, especially those that don't know a lot about technology. However, it's a very important part of business, and just as you would pay to have a contractor handle all of your remodeling on your building, so too should you pay to have a web expert handle all of your online stuff.
Which leads into my final point - not all 'web experts' are created equal. My biggest piece of advice is to let math do the talking when evaluating someone's online skills. If you want to get stronger social media penetration, find someone who is dominating social media. If someone claims to be a social media expert, ask to see their social media accounts and compare them to other social media accounts.
If your goal is to get more Facebook exposure, don't hire someone that is in charge of two fan pages that have a combined 100 'likes'. If your goal is to get a stronger Google presence, don't hire someone that shows you websites that they run that only get a dozen Google referrals a day. Simply creating a website and a Facebook page is not enough. They have to be strong websites and strong Facebook pages. Otherwise they might as well not exist at all. Everything on the internet is measurable, and anyone who cannot provide strong statistics upfront should be avoided.