Tips for navigating the rules of Instagram

Losing a social media account has the potential to hurt a cannabis brand

We’ve all seen social media accounts get shut down left and right in the cannabis industry, especially on Instagram. It’s been happening for years, and brands are often left frustrated and scrambling to appeal or get a new account up quickly.

When your Instagram account is taken down, the first thing you need to do is file an appeal. If you haven’t broken any of the community standards, you should get it back fairly quickly.

But while you’re waiting for an appeal, your customers won’t see your account. Many brands will get impatient and create a new account, which can get complicated and confusing, since you have to change your handle (while keeping it recognizable enough for people to find you again).

I recommend waiting out the appeals process. File several appeals each day and focus your efforts on other networks as you wait. It’s never a good idea to put all your brand’s eggs in one basket, so build up an account on Twitter or another social network.

If you don’t win your appeal after a week and want to start a new account, try to keep the handle as close to the original account as possible. You want users to be able to find you and complicating the handle with too many symbols or punctuation marks makes it difficult to search.

Your followers will find you, but if you get shut down again and again, they’re going to wonder why.

When it comes to the content you share on Instagram, it’s highly recommended to read the community standards. The first rule on Instagram is to only share what you own. This doesn’t mean you can steal someone else’s photo and tag them or give attribution in the text of the post. That’s still stealing. Besides, why would you want to brand your company with photos from others? Hire a professional photographer for a couple hours to create a bank of content to save. Be sure to credit them, as it not only gives the photographer more exposure, it’s the right thing to do. The photographer can also post on their account, giving your brand even more exposure with their followers.

Another community standard states that the platform can’t be used to sell cannabis. Since social media is more about branding than selling, this should be a given. Brand your account with your own content and robust text to draw people in and engage with you.

Instagram also doesn’t allow cannabis companies to list any contact information, except for their website. Your account may get shut down for having a street address or phone number on it.

With so few rules on Instagram, it’s not hard to follow them. Your followers expect a professional business, so be sure to create a professional account that adheres to the community standards.

 

Amy Donohue has been a social media consultant since 2005 and in the cannabis industry since 2014. Her focus is on compliant cannabis social media, to help businesses look professional and erase the stigma surrounding cannabis.

 

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