Get Snapping​: How to use Snapchat for Cannabis Businesses

Posted by Refined Bud on July 25, 2016 in blog



You have 10 seconds to engage your customers and provide useful information—what do you do?

Welcome to the world of Snapchat—where users send images and videos for a brief moment and then they disappear. Funny geographically custom backgrounds and different graphics add to this social platform, making it the 3rd most popular social network among millennials, behind Instagram and Facebook.


This app can be downloaded on a Smartphone from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store, and links to an e-mail address and your phone number. Once you have it downloaded, the fun begins. Here are the basics from Snapchat, but we’ve highlighted the most important:

  • What are Snaps?: picture or video messages taken and shared with friends on Snapchat instantaneously.
  • How long are Snaps?: Snaps can be viewed for a maximum of 10 seconds between friends, but can be replayed if you miss it.
  • Can I add filters?: YES! Once you take the picture or video, swipe left, and the filters apply. Keep scrolling to see the active Geofilters in your area, fast forward or slow down your videos, add the time and temperature, or MORE.
  • Who can view your Snaps?: Depends on who you send it to. You can send the snap to one person, several people, or all of your Snapchat friends using Snap Stories.
  • Anything else?: Stickers – the emojis of Snapchat and Lenses are extremely popular. If you’ve ever seen a video of a rainbow coming out of someone’s mouth, you can thank Snapchat for that.

Snapchat is great for businesses because it is another platform that they can reach their customers in creative ways. Snapchat is a part of the growing social media culture that has advertising execs excited and scared all at the same time. Like other social media sites, advertising costs are relatively cheap. Brands can offer exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at new products or company culture, announce a contest, document events or celebrations, or make announcements. If you want more advertisement like content—brands can create their feed using the Discover section, which is all of your original content at a very low cost.

Snapchat has been more relaxed than others to allow cannabis companies to use the platform. They even sponsored an unfortunate Bob Marley 4/20 filter that did not go over well, but perhaps with this stunt, Snapchat is okay with cannabis brands on social media. Currently, Snapchat has not listed drugs or alcohol on their Community Guidelines or Terms of Servicewhich could be promising for many cannabis brands interested in targeting the lucrative millennial market.

There are a few downsides to Snapchat. First, it was difficult to target an audience for free. You either have to pay for Lenses or Geofilters, pay for a Discover section or promote the heck out of your Snapchat username and hope people follow your account organically. Secondly, there is not an age verification system in place on Snapchat. As a brand, it can be difficult to determine the age of your followers, and when you a promoting adult content it can get tricky. Snapchat shares their data with potential advertisers as an incentive to target younger markets. In fact, 23% of all monthly users in the U.S. are 13-17 year-olds.


Despite the challenges, cannabis brands can actually benefit from Snapchat’s global platform. It is a popular social network and unlike Facebook and Instagram, hasn’t been known to shut down profiles for being linked to the legal cannabis industry.

If you are ready to join these successful brands and get started on Snapchat we’ve created some tips on how as a cannabis brand you can operate on this platform.

Don’t flush with ads
People follow brands on Snapchat because they already have an interest in your brand. You can showcase products now and then, but this is an opportunity to show the personality of your company. Showcasing what makes your business unique, the culture of your brand, and current events will be much more efficient for this platform.

Educate your followers
The cannabis industry has a stigma that cannabis brand must overcome. On Snapchat, you authenticly speak to a larger audience and make a conscious effort to shift the conversation. Educating your audience on the cannabis positive benefits cannabis can have on health and the economy can make a huge difference. Use your platform to educate those who may not regularly follow industry news or politics.

Get creative!
This platform is a creative outlet for people and brands, alike. Brands are beginning to launch campaigns around Snapchat and other social platforms to offer exclusive deals, promote a cause that is important to their business, or as a way to creatively connect with their followers. These campaigns are unique, inspiring, and engaging and are anything but boring ads.

Go Behind-the-Scenes
Another way brands are finding success on Snapchat is giving a behind-the-scenes look either at the company’s culture, projects, or new products. People pay premium prices for all access and showcasing this on your Snapchat story is an excellent way to boost your followers.

All the events your business hosts or attends can be shown on your Snapchat story. This allows customers/fans/followers know what you are up to when you aren’t crushing the cannabis business. It allows you to advertise a major event or project that is important to your brand without appearing to advertise.

So, take Snapchat for a spin. It may take you time to find your groove, but remember that Snapchat is a perfect place to test content as it disappears quickly. What’s your favorite content to see on Snapchat? Let us know in the comments!  

If you are interested in learning more about Snapchat, contact us at Refined Bud. We can consult with your team on basics, strategy, and content.

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