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Potent Influence: The Impact of Social Proof on Cannabis Marketing

Potent Influence: The Impact of Social Proof on Cannabis Marketing

Today, consumers couldn't care less about who has the flashiest or most dynamic marketing collateral. Instead, they want to know which brands are trustworthy and credible. How can you ensure your cannabis brand comes across as such? With social proof.

Social proof is the term used when describing the psychological phenomenon where the opinions and actions of others motivate people to do the same. Think of celebrity endorsements such as the recent Solo Stove x Snoop Dogg campaign. 

Not only did this campaign capture the attention of cannabis consumers across the world, but it stopped them in their tracks and had them wondering, is Snoop really going smokeless? Finding out he was just interested in smokeless fire pits was a relief to most of us. But more importantly, this campaign got us all interested in learning more about Solo Stoves. As a result, the limited edition Snoop Stove sold out indefinitely. 

This is a great example of how social proof—in this case, via celebrity endorsement—has the power to influence the purchase decisions of consumers. 

So, wondering how you can infuse social proof into your cannabis marketing strategy? Not able to afford the likes of Snoop Dogg? No worries. There are a multitude of ways to leverage social proof for your brand. Let’s get into it.

The Benefits of Social Proof in Cannabis Marketing

Cannabis marketing has its share of restrictions, such as not being able to advertise on social media channels or in many mainstream media outlets. However, by implementing social proof into strategic marketing campaigns, cannabis businesses can dramatically increase the visibility of their brand and drive revenue. 

The overall benefits of utilizing social proof to amplify your cannabis marketing strategy are evident. Social proof:

  • Builds trust and credibility for your brand

  • Serves as evidence of your products’ high quality and desirability

  • Helps increase conversions (upwards of 34%) and drive revenue

  • Improves your search engine optimization 

  • Increases your brand awareness through word of mouth

When 87% of buying decisions begin with research conducted online before the purchase is made, it’s vital that your cannabis business has its ducks in a row. And by ducks, we mean you leverage at least one of the following social proof options on your website and across your marketing channels.

5 Types of Social Proof for Cannabis Brands

1. User Testimonials and Reviews

Testimonials and reviews are the most common source of social proof, and for good reason—they’re easy to obtain and drive positive results.

According to HubSpot, “nearly 74% of customers say that a positive review helps build trust in a company, making it more likely customers will click the ‘buy now' button.” And 92% are hesitant to purchase when there are no customer reviews available. 

Additionally, having over 50 reviews—whether on your site or on a third-party review site such as Clutch or G2—can increase your conversion rate by 4.6%.

2. Influencer Endorsements and Celebrity Partnerships

If you’re on Instagram, it’s safe for us to assume that you’ve purchased a product promoted by an influencer. (Those Amazon influencers are too good at their job sometimes!) The moral of the story is influencer marketing (and the associated social proof that comes with it) works. And as proven in the Solo Stove x Snoop Dogg example from earlier in this article, so does celebrity endorsement. 

The thing is, people believe other people rather than a business. Which is why working with industry influencers and/or celebrities in your space is critical to spreading the word about your brand. Plus, HubSpot reports, “30% of consumers are more likely to purchase if you partner with influencers.” 

3. Earned Media

Earned media is the ultimate form of social proof and the most credible and surefire way of promoting your brand. It's the Forbes article you discovered on LinkedIn this morning featuring a new cannabis beverage. It's the podcast episode you listened to where an industry expert shared their best tips for packaging cannabis products. It's everywhere.

92% of consumers trust earned media more than any other form of advertising. It proves that your brand is credible, has high-quality products, and is a worthwhile option compared to competitors. 

➡️ Maximize the value of your earned media with our post-coverage checklist.

4. Social Media Engagement and User-Generated Content

Similar to influencers, user-generated content is another strong form of social proof. In fact, 79% of consumers report user-generated content has the greatest impact on buying decisions. The difference here is that these “users” are “regular people,” not celebrities or well-known influencers. 

The best way to make it happen? One way to do it is to send your top customers your latest products and ask them to create a video review you can re-share on your brand’s social media accounts. The reality is, 85% of buyers are “more affected by user-generated visual content than brand’s photos and videos.”

5. Awards and Recognitions

What better way to show your brand is better than the competition than by sharing the awards that prove it? Including award logos and insignias on your website and across all marketing channels proves to potential customers that your brand is authentic and trustworthy. 

To put it simply, awards serve as a public stamp of approval from a third party. It’s this stamp of approval that shows potential customers why your brand, product, or service is the best. 

Final Thoughts

Leveraging social proof to strengthen your cannabis marketing strategy is a killer way to increase credibility and brand visibility, all the while driving revenue. It’s a win-win-win! 

If you’re thinking about using earned media and award recognition to kick start your social proof initiatives, our media relations experts are excited and ready to help you get started.


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