Grace Delgado 0:00
If you start going into these communities, and you actually kind of put together the strings, and I have like a list of like 500, something hashtags that are banned. And if you lay them all out and you look at them, you’re going to notice a common theme among them within like, cannabis is banned, and etc. but honest to God, where I feel that hashtags and where Instagram kind of like Doc’s people is, in the DMS, you have a bunch of pictures of weed, you’re using banned hashtags that are known for when you go into these communities to find products in your area. When you go into these communities, you’ll notice the common theme of who is here and who is not checking things. And like, even though we’re coming out of a prohibition to where it shouldn’t be stigmatized, and if you look at it, it looks like drug deals are happening. And you know, if you have a business deal, even if you’re a legit CBD business, or a legit cannabis business, like take that stuff out of DMS, I have people like messaging me like I got pounds, I got all this stuff down. Like we’ve all had, you know, interactions with that, and I’ve had interactions that are kind of terrifying on Instagram. And I’m like, Okay, well, this is why these things are banned. And this is why we have like a bad reputation. Instagram doesn’t want to be involved in that.

Announcer 1:30
You’re listening to To be blunt, be badass for cannabis marketers. We’re your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing, educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here’s your host Shayda Torabi,

Shayda Torabi 1:49
we made it to another episode. Hey, hi. And Hello. My name is Shayda I’m your host and How are y’all doing out there? I hope I’m not talking to a wall unless you are in fact, staring at a wall while listening to this podcast. Now that could be fun. But nonetheless, here is a friendly reminder to connect with me on social media. The show is at To be blunt pod and my personal is at the Shayda Torabi on Instagram. please reach out with any questions or feedback you might have about this show. I aim to be a resource and genuinely want these episodes to be valuable for you. So please contribute to the feedback loop. It really will help us both. Now with formalities out of the way I’m stoked because today’s guest is a friendly of mine here in Texas. Her name is Grace Delgado and she’s the editor in chief at Texas cannabis today. She’s also a digital marketer, writer and web developer that works primarily with tech and cannabis startups. Grace has been a key resource in our community helping brands and myself navigate and interpret Texas’s ever evolving cannabis laws. But specifically, Grace has a knack for social media. And as you all know, cannabis and social media aren’t the best friends. As we dive into today’s episode, I hope you think about what your current social media strategy is, if you have one or not, and that this episode is beneficial for you. So let’s welcome grace to the show and dig right in.

Grace Delgado 3:24
My name is Grace Delgado and I am the founder of the Texas CBD blog. And I’m also digital marketing consultant as well. And really what I like to focus on is how cannabis and hemp and CBD play in social media and the digital media in general. Well, first off how I got into cannabis is I’ve always been really interested in cannabis and smoking weed. Ever since high school, I was super curious about the culture. And then I was like the alternate kind of universe to me, because I grew up really conservative. I was homeschooled and I was that kid who wanted to one kind of be rebellious. But two, I was rebellious because I really wanted to know the story on the other side. And so it was like kind of DevOps my whole entire life because of how I grew up. And that’s how the whole High School thing started. I went to got into college, I started like smoking more. And then I was actually looking to apply to which which college I was going to apply to I ended up going to UTSA for my bachelor’s degree before that I was at San Antonio College, right American Sign Language Interpreting. So this is where my communication background comes in. So I’m actually proficient in American Sign Language, but really, that’s a whole different skill set that I will talk about right now. So when I was looking at different colleges for what I was going to go to, I was looking at the University of Boulder and what I was really curious about and why I wanted to move to Colorado is like I just always felt like pulled there and then I started following the politics worth of legalization, etc. And I just started like going over there visiting once everything was like we legalized and everything was kind of like all fresh and new in 2000 like 1416. And then I just kind of like fell in love with the cannabis industry and I wanted to do whatever I could to get into it. So I followed a bunch of pages on Facebook, I thought that was like the most like freeing thing in my soul to like, follow different like accounts and like follow up with like, what’s going on and cannabis politics and stuff. But really what solidified me getting into the cannabis industry was in 2018, when the farm bill passed, and I was learning about that. And like, way before it passed, I was learning about it like oh, my God, like Texas is probably actually gonna do something’s crazy, because they’ll even believe it will be legal nationally. So it’s kind of hard to get my ducks in a row there. And I remember going to my first CBD dispensary walking in and being like, Oh my god, like this is where I’m going to be like, I just knew like my heart was here. And it was done. Because I saw on the national level like things are happening and moving. So I ended up like starting few things. And I ended up starting the Texas CBD blog, which was really like, a way to cultivate my interest in in cannabis at first like, so I had like a private Instagram account that I could just follow these pages and follow etc. But then I realized that there was so much more happening in the cannabis community in Texas and across the United States with, you know, having these rules clarified. And that’s when I started to really start to talk about and notice and, and connect with other entrepreneurs who were doing something in the space, because I knew I would never have this chance, again, I said, if I in 10 years from now, you’re not going to have the owners of these spaces at the front at the counter, you’re not going to have that they’re going to all have business and scale and etc. And I was like I want to talk to these people who are crazy enough to do this in Texas. So that’s where it kind of started. And it bloomed from there. And it’s definitely been a journey, because, and cannabis in general, is really technical, because of all the rules that are coming out. And there’s no clarification for sayings and etc. So I kind of just like jumped in headfirst and kind of started following it and like unraveling the problems people were having, because I knew I was facing them. And that’s where it kind of stuck where like, how to look at things. And on top of it. So I also have a background in I used to work for the government. So I used to work for universal public university. So I understand how and why things have to be, they have to be done a certain way, when you have regulation and you don’t have regulation and what that looks like. So having that background and watching this unfold, I was able to like kind of like navigate it. And then whenever I talk to like clients, it’s like, understanding why things have to be done this way, it almost like a little checklist in my brain of what I consider like best practices and just being safe, even though I understand like, we make our own lines, or there are no lines really except for the law. So just like looking from that lens, it just kind of gives me like a different perspective of how to approach these things. And also, what’s been really cool, though, about this whole journey watching it is you kind of see who those entrepreneurs who are doing our best, and doing their due diligence and putting their best foot forward when implementing these practices. Because it puts like a divide between things of like where you are going within your business and like legalization, and how you would act because we don’t it is a wild west. But how responsible Are you have a within your content within like your store within like your products? Like? Are you a good example for the state of Texas when that day comes and be like, Can we trust these people with stewards with these flowers? And it’s like, actually, yeah, you can and I can be like, bam, like, look at all these businesses, look at all these entrepreneurs like these are the people who are fighting for him. And I think that’s the beauty of being a part of the cannabis community in Texas. And being a part of that community and just kind of like, figuring out how to work best with one another. But you know, it’s still a wild west. It’s crazy. So yeah, that’s kind of like how I got here.

Shayda Torabi 9:08
I appreciated that very thorough introduction of yourself. I think what I’ll kind of like dig into a little bit further is, you know, you set it really well. You were kind of observing the industry, starting in Texas, and rather than kind of passively see what was happening in regards to the players who are getting involved. You were curious and you wanted to have more than a passive, you know, stander by type platform, whether it was a voice or you actually you know, kind of creating content. I remember when you first launched and to kind of you know, again Connect dots and be for listeners. So grace and I have known each other for the past couple years. We’re both here in Austin, Texas now. Just from a trust perspective, I think you are someone I’ve observed create content, because you started by being somebody who was genuinely curious and listening and learning about what was happening. And I think as someone who is running a business, in the space from a kind of retailer, and dispensary perspective, I mean, everything you just said is really accurate. It’s, it’s what’s happening on a national level, what’s happening at a state level, what’s happening in my city? What are the pieces of information that I need to understand to be in business? To what are the pieces of information I need to stay in business? So you and I think you’ve had a fun time, kind of, respectively digging into that side, the technicality of the industry, which, before we were recording, this episode might get a little shady, I’ll kind of throw it out there. You know, Austin is is one of those really great examples, I think of the community that we’re building here in Texas, I definitely, obviously have this podcast. So I’m very public facing myself. And I have people who messaged me all the time being like, Oh, I’m so jealous, we don’t have the same community in Houston, or you know, Dallas, even. But it’s like the flip side of that coin is because there’s this community in Austin, there’s hyper excitement for cannabis and CBD. Unfortunately, you have a lot of bad players. And so navigating that just kind of on the level of social media and marketing, you know, your brand, creating a differentiation about your brand. And ultimately, in my opinion, the onus is on educating the consumers. That’s a really scary storm to exist in. And so I think, what I love most about you, and where I definitely want to drive, most of this conversation for the listeners is really around what you have seen and what you continue to see when it comes to social media. Obviously, knowing that it is an area that’s a hot subject for our industry, because of the whole advertising side of things. But I do think there is a lot of success found in social media as well. And I think people who succeed, it just comes down to understanding the rules of engagement, which you seem to have understood or are trying to understand as best as you can. So what are some of the things that you know, you’re kind of observing when it comes to social media, whether that’s cannabis brands in Texas, or just in general?

Grace Delgado 12:30
First off, when it comes to social media, in general, I feel like you have a standard, like what we see. And then we realize like what we can actually produce. And then once you throw cannabis on top of that, it gets a whole lot more complicated. So first off, like, what I see is, is just how people use and like what their skill sets, and just even just like having their profile set up properly. And just like what, knowing who you are as a brand, like, those are all just like basic business stuff. So we’re gonna kind of so I’m just starting out with that, just to actually put it aside. So this is besides that. Now what we’re talking about is like advanced practices. So let’s get that going. First, what I’m really seeing is, is just not being smart with the basics of social media, and realizing how in the macro, people don’t understand that in the algorithm. It reads everything. Then you have to remember also, like, if you look at Facebook, that Facebook owns Instagram, and then who and who those businesses are acquired behind it, which is a whole nother topic. It’s consuming everything that you put on there. And this also includes comments you’re engaging with, this includes like the hashtags that you’re putting in, and kind of being smart about those things. Now, one major thing is people always talk about in cannabis is getting shadow banned. And we’ve all had it, we’ve all experienced it. If you’re in cannabis and you haven’t been shadow banned, I don’t know how you have got that far. So what shadow banning is, is when your engagement and the promotion of your profile is throttled. Now, if you actually go to Instagram like, and like look at their blog, they will tell you that they don’t really shadow they with the before they told you they did in a shadow ban people, but most recently, they’ve said that they will reduce engagement if you don’t follow certain guidelines that they put out. And that’s of course, just being friendly towards advertisers and just within your community. And at the end of the day, if they can’t put your photo in a category and based off of all the information that you have, if they can’t categorize this photo, then they’re just not going to give it to engagement. So it’s just not going to go to anybody. So um that’s And that’s just that’s just realness right there. So and that’s where it goes back down to the your, your basics of what it means to have a kind of like a well rounded brand and kind of figuring out who you are. And that ultimately, that’s what shadow banning is, is just when your your profile

Shayda Torabi 15:16
is thought throttled. And that happens, because you’re using certain hashtags that you shouldn’t be or posting certain images that maybe Instagram doesn’t like, Is it really the hashtag focus or what really is targeting the ban?

Grace Delgado 15:29
I think it’s a big picture overall. But I really do think that it comes down to like the hashtags, you’re putting in your profile, it comes down to also the photo. So when the AI reads or photos, not being able to categorize it, your hashtags, and then you’re engaging with people who might have like, kind of like shady information in there like that, putting everything in context, I think that all contributes to it. And how you get out of shadowbanned is pretty simple. It just you kind of have to keep fighting through the algorithm, and just kind of like clearing up a few things. Now, when you’re looking at a profile and you’re getting out of it. Like what are simple ways to kind of figure out like is your profile, you know, at risk is, I always tell people to start with your hashtags. Now, there are different tools that you can use, but they cost money, they’re not that bad, very expensive. But at the end of the day, if you’re on a tight budget, what I would 100% do is go into the communities that you’re hashtagging in some of your hash tagging, lead hash tagging, Texas, cannabis is one of them. I think, if I recall correctly, because that was brand new. It wasn’t it wasn’t banned before. But recently, I noticed that it was and if you go into those hashtag communities, and Instagram will tell you that there is some suspicious activity going on within these hashtags. It will say, you know, like, you may not be seen if you use these. So now if you’ve gone in, like looked at the communities of the hashtags, and seeing, like, hey, like, I’m noticing five of the hashtags that I like to use, are coming have this warning under them that Instagram that, you know, it’s public information, anybody can figure this out. If they have that, well, that’s probably a reason why you’re being thrown. Because you’re not being shown anybody, know your hashtags, how like, you can follow hashtags and have them fold your feet like so that’s going to be sending you. Now what is crazy. Now, this is the real team. This is the honest to god Realty. So if you start going into these communities, and you actually kind of put together the strings, and so I have lists, I have like a list of like 500, something hashtags that are banned. And if you lay them all out, and you look at them, you’re going to notice a common theme among them within like where cannabis is banned, and etc. but honest to god is where I feel that hashtags and where Instagram, kind of like Doc’s people, is, in the DMS, you have a bunch of pictures of weed, you’re using banned hashtags that are known for when you go into these communities to find products in your area. So if someone was in Austin, and they’re like, Yo, I want to find some good Kush. Like, what do I do? They go to Instagram. And when you go into these communities, you’ll notice the common theme of who is here and who is not checking things. And like, even though we’re coming out of a prohibition to where it shouldn’t be stigmatized. And if you look at it, it looks like drug deals are happening. Oh, totally. You know, we’re here, we’re all free the weed, I’m not saying it’s bad, but like, from a business perspective, who they want the money they’re pushing those people are buying Chanel bags, you know, on Instagram, so they want though the Instagram wants that money to be pushed through. But if you have all this other illegal activity to kind of like launder stuff, that’s where things kind of get shut down. It’s just interesting to see like, really looking at your profile, like, does it look legitimate being a legit business? keeping things clean? And like, do I think hashtag weed should be banned? No. Is it? Yes. Are there good reasons for it? Heck, yeah. When you look at that community, yeah, there is a lot of good reasons for it. And I think that’s where everybody kind of having a kind of taking a second look at like how they display this information. Right now. You know, if you have a business deal, even if you’re a legit CBD business, or a legit cannabis business, like take that stuff out of DMS, I have people like messaging me, like, I got pounds, I got all this stuff down. Like we’ve all had, you know, interactions with that. And I’ve had indirect interactions that are kind of terrifying on Instagram, with, you know, bigger people pushing products, because of the lists that they send me. And I’m like, Okay, well, this is why it’s like, this is why these things are banned. And this is why we have like a bad reputation. Because we’re also still fighting like it’s not legal, and there’s no clarity around it and Instagram doesn’t want to be involved in that.

Shayda Torabi 19:56
But they are they are involved. It’s such a convoluted problem because I mean, abstractly, you’re sitting here and you’re thinking, like, we were kind of joking before we start recording, like, Oh, I’m a small business. And I would like to be on social media and social media has given me this option to sell my physical products through my social media platform. It’s like everybody’s, you know, dream, we want to be online 2020 we’re doing e commerce. And then like a way as a cannabis brand, I cannot participate in these certain e commerce transactions happening. However, like you just said, I’ll kind of you know, I always love to fall on the store. That’s my favorite thing to do you guys know this, that’s the whole point of this podcast is to be as transparent and blunt as possible. So I, unlike you, Grace, am a semi smart marketer in the sense that I know hashtags are quote unquote, what we need to be using. However, I’m also lazy A F and don’t like changing my hashtags. So once I got 30, hashtags are relatively in my wheelhouse, they kind of, you know, sit, whether it’s, let me give myself some caveat. I do have hashtags I rotate. If it’s something food related, I’m going to show food related hashtags, if it’s fashion, I mean, use fashion related hashtags. and not vice versa, you know, unless there’s like some reason to put those hash tags together. However, when you’re looking at cannabis, it’s kind of hard because, again, as the smart ish marketer in me, I know, we can’t use hashtag weed. We can’t, it’s banned. It doesn’t net me anything. What’s the point of me using hashtag weed unless I’m trying to get some of this black market stuff going, and so as to be blunts Instagram manager, that’s my job, my role. You know, like I said, I’m not the most creative when it comes to hashtags. So I’ve certainly use probably all of the ones that you’re aware of that are, you know, Shadow banned or banned to some extent. And what I found was really interesting, was the type of engagement that the podcast page was getting, by using those hashtags. I mean, I would say, I was getting followers when I first launched, but they were all from these like, nothing for sale. But very clearly, like, Oregon grown, or whatever it is, or DM me if you have questions, but nothing for sale type of accounts. And it’s just like, that is the unfortunate world we’re living in like those accounts exist, whether Instagram wants to deal with it or not. And as a result, then people in the industry who want to take advantage of these hashtags that are semi relevant because it can be hard. I mean, again, like I’m here confessing as somebody with a degree in marketing, I’ve been doing marketing professionally for many years. And hashtags overwhelms me and I’m somebody who is better. Custom to social media is just like how to regular brands in the cannabis space, navigate this, because then my flip side to that, again, I’ll throw myself on that sword. I’m sorry, a lot of these cannabis brands, sorry, consumers, you’re not very smart. But these people are buying followers, they’re buying engagement. And they’re basically inflating their profiles to be cooler, bigger, better than they are. And so here I am, I’m sitting in the middle. I’m a genuine gal who doesn’t want to, you know, buy or exploit or whatever. But I’m watching my follower. You guys can’t see what I’m using air quotes. I’m watching my follower count go up by these fake accounts because I’m using these poor hashtags. And it’s just this like really gross web that we’ve webbed ourselves in, in this industry, unfortunately, where I don’t know if it’s cannabis or it’s really social media in general, but I don’t trust it anymore. And so that was a lot of word vomit on my part to say, as somebody again who’s on social media for a lot of her job, I have to kind of navigate it because I don’t believe everything that’s out there. So how does someone listening to this conversation, Grace, navigate what you and I are discussing?

Grace Delgado 23:57
Well, at the end of the day, it kind of depends on what your goal is for your account and like who you are as a person like if you’re a brand and when you’re looking at like more like weed influencers like kitty cat like cannabis influencers, and there’s a lot of those cool, like, don’t get me wrong, dude, if you go to my favorite accounts, just stop because it blows my mind. Like for it going this is I love stalking Oregon and I love stalking Washington, because they I will fall into really fun, really, really fun like the chains of like people like taking hits and then like, you go into more of like the glass culture and like people glowing glowing glass and people having glass competitions like that is where you’re gonna find a bunch of like fun stuff. Now, it’s just it really depends on your account. So if you’re a consumer, I say fuck it, like just kind of like do like kind of do what you want. But at the same time, if you have some sort of like, it’s kind of like you’re gonna be experimenting with your own account following those because some of those There’s a portion of those accounts that have like only fans connected to it. Now they’re gonna have only fans like hashtags and what you’re doing with hashtags and everything that you do on social media is teaching the algorithm how to serve you ads better and how the algorithm wants to serve you, at the very end of the day. That’s all they care about. And the only reason why you end up in limbo is because they don’t know how to serve you. Or you’ve done some things that they might find shady because somebody has, like, let’s say hashtag sex, because they’re trying to be edgy. What are you doing? Like, just think about it from a big perspective, if you have that type of hashtag in your set? What are you telling them? What do you like, there are very much illegal things that are going on. But they’re also not illegal things in certain states, which have no shame, no hate, I’m not being shady here. People do what they want. But you have to just think about the big picture. You know, they also have like younger audiences on there. Now, if you’re a business account, and you are really fighting for and you’re really like navigating this whole process, like you’re in great hands, because you listened to an amazing podcast, and for good business practices, is just take a step back, look at your account, what you are posting, is there anything that looks shady for what like, I encourage you, the biggest thing is go into these hashtags. And like, look at those communities, because you’re teaching Instagram that you want to be categorized in these places. So look at those communities, do you resonate with them? How do you want to be seen and this is going to suck, like, once you start changing of hashtags, you start changing up your way, you’re gonna probably have a little bit of lower engagement, because you’re kind of like putting the brakes in, you’re changing the road. And I have personal, very personal experience doing this, like, I’ve have kept, like, certain posts that I’ve performed low because of that. So, um, so that’s just, that’s really the first part is just like, take a step back, look, look at that. And then number one, out of everything, please keep any business that you do off of Instagram, please send them to an email, please just don’t if you’re going to be like slinging product,

Announcer 27:06

Grace Delgado 27:07
don’t do don’t indicate any of that on social media, like, hey, like, hey, like, send us a DM, or check out my emails and like, you know, send them off the platform. Because at the end of the day, I think that that’s what kind of kicks people in the head is not taking that off. Because people are trying to have aliases, and are you they use social media as an alias, in order to provide the product and getting it to people. And then they’ll be like, Oh, yeah, add me to Facebook. And then we’re, you know, send you money through WhatsApp or something like that. Those are just very real practices. And they’ll tell you to go to Snapchat, I’ll tell you go to Venmo, whatever, like, just don’t do if you like your account, just don’t do it on Instagram.

Shayda Torabi 27:51
Let me just stop you and break that down a little bit further. So you’re saying no business in the DM. So for example, a feature that I know brands use and we use it we have like a Facebook Messenger and like you just kind of highlighted Facebook and Instagram, they own each other. So as a way to better communicate with our customers in real time. We’ve added like a Facebook Messenger app. And so I do spend a significant amount of my time every day. I wouldn’t say selling but educating and answering people’s questions through DMS.

Grace Delgado 28:24
Yeah. And I think there are certain that there’s a certain amount of grace period for sure. But the reason why I say this is if you go look at why other people gotten banned on Instagram, and like not even cannabis related, it usually has to do with like something shady happening in the DMS, or just like shady practices all together. Again, I think it’s a big picture overall, but it is a it’s a heavier strike against you, in my opinion, and that’s just from what I’ve learned and observed. Because I’ve seen this happen in under other industries, too. So and really, like what you’re doing is thinking about like the hot industries, like you’re talking about, like sex work, you’re looking at alcohol, you’re looking at tobacco, like any of these other things, and if they did that they get banned and like there’s reasons what other platforms are created for that.

Shayda Torabi 29:13
Except our industry just like alcohol is a legitimate industry. And especially if you’re selling hemp products, they are federally legal. I’m sorry that my hemp flour looks just like marijuana flour. But that’s the unfortunate rub. I think that we’re in when it comes to cannabis is like you have this weird federal illegality gray area so to speak. But then when it comes to CBD, it’s full on federally legal, this is a legal product and yet I’m not allowed to advertise. I think that’s what gets me the most frustrated is it I get people who are like, you know, maybe marijuana brands in California or Colorado and they’re trying to do stuff with like I mean to segue into like, a weird nebulous part of social media like influencer stuff like if you are an illegal state and you want to use influencers technically you cannot give influence you can’t give anybody free products I mean just from what I do I know a lot of brands and they’re always like hey I can sell you this for like really cheap pennies but I can’t give you cannabis it’s some part of the way the law works and so when you kind of put that same desire on to the rest of the cannabis industry like CBD obviously like influencers are a huge social media play but I think a lot of people are using to get around these weird cannabis laws because and poor influencers i mean i’m i semi am an influencer so I can say this to them, but I feel really bad for them because most of these influencers don’t realize the brand is doing that because the brand doesn’t want to get the hit for creating that content. They’re putting that hit on the influencer and I’ve had some influencer friends who don’t post about cannabis but they you know, a CBD company reached out to them and they started promoting their CBD stuff and the next thing you know the influencers account is down or shadow banned or slow down or something because they bought involved in this rogue whatever gray area product that you and I love so much a

quick break to say thank you to restart CBD for sponsoring this podcast, restart CBD is a brand my sisters and I founded in our hometown in Austin, Texas, we operate a retail location as well as an e commerce store. And you can browse our wide range of CBD products at restart CBD calm again, thank you to restart for allowing me the time and resources to put on to be blunt, I hope you’ll check them out for your CBD needs. Let’s go back to the episode. And it’s just a very interesting, like, how do you even start to navigate it? And again, obviously, the point of this conversation is to try to shed some light on it. But man, it’s exhausting as people in the industry who have this communication, emphasis. And we’re still like, Huh, but like, what can we do? And what Can’t we do? And like? How do you learn these things unless you spend the time to do it. And so I guess the question I have for you is like, how do you keep track of the hashtags? How do you know what are good hashtags to use? What’s advice for people who are, let’s say, you know, a CBD brand who’s legal? Who wants to promote on social media.

Grace Delgado 32:35
So there’s a tool for that. But before I go into that, it’s really interesting that you mentioned like the influencer stuff. So if you look at the macro, and this a lot of information that I have really gained a lot of like the meat of my education through this is really speaking about the macro. So if you look at the top performing posts within CBD, hemp cannabis, if you look at the top performing posts, of influencer friends, I have, like, you know, taught like tons of people, but they actually don’t populate on the highest performing posts. But then to the highest performing posts that I’ve seen are actually people who are not really involved in the industry. And they’re obviously they’ve been there’s been an exchange of goods. However, that may be a sponsored post, I don’t know people do their own thing. And all that matters is the highest performing post I’ve been from people who are actually not in the industry, it’s more of like, lifestyle, food, fashion, I think it also has to do with like, built in engagement, and people also like not supporting them. And it really having somebody who already does have that platform, and that connection with their audience. And those people for whatever reason, are really receptive to that person. But when we look at our own cannabis community, like why don’t we want to engage and share and like each other’s posts, I don’t get that. There is this tool that I have that I use, and I have an affiliate link for it. So what it’s called is a tool called hashtag stick, hashtag stick. It’s just Instagram focus, but also keep in mind, the company’s Facebook owns. And I have for a fact that you know what doesn’t does not work, because I’ve had gone through some things. But what it does is you go into their platform, and you can find your hashtags. You can put one in see what it is. And we’re about to get really technical right now when it comes to Instagram stuff. But there’s ways to like categorize your hashtags based off of how often other people are using them. And then of course, using the waterfall method, if anybody knows what that is, essentially, it’s like building like smaller hashtags that people don’t use all the way up to a bigger hashtag. So like smaller hashtags under 500 medium between like 100,000 500,000 you know, medium depends on really, that’s just definition based on your category of like, what that what a medium hashtag is, but usually it’s between that there’s a lot meeting there will be YouTube it any person on so two talks about social media will tell you that also within like higher performing hashtags, so you’re talking about millions, 2 million, etc. So those people who put that information on, and this kind of like in figuring out like where you want the algorithm to put you and teaching you. And then of course, the higher hashtags, which you really won’t get, see unless you have like 100,000 plus followers, because of how the engagement work. So where you’re going to be rising within the within, like when you look at Instagram, your discovery page. And when you look at those hashtags, the ones that pop up, because that those top performing hashtags when you go to like, hashtag Austin, those are the top ones from that week, and those consistent, those will rotate, depending on the frequency of how often people post there, you’re also generalizing information, you’re again, you’re teaching Instagram, where you’re categorizing your photos, and also you have to think about it from a programmer point of view, like, you know, they just want to make sure that like everything is go is sorting in the right spots. So they can have the best information to serve their audience, but also to serve their investors kind of shady, but whatever, really, at the end of the day to serve their consumers a free product that they want people to come back to, and then use the feature that are really, you know, really out. So again, it’s, it’s kind of just thinking about it from like, the big perspective. And just because something over here and cannabis is happening, also doesn’t mean like how, okay, so at the time of recording this podcast, we’ve had the election happened. So that was yesterday. Well, a few days ago, I noticed on my story, I noticed that all hashtags were being suppressed due to the election happening. Well, there was somebody who made a post that said like, something like hashtag CBD and hemp are being, you know, and others are being suppressed. You know, make sure you engage with your community. And I’m like, Okay, I understand the sentiment of that. But it’s just like not taking that attack against CBD and hemp personally. It’s like, no, like, this is a bigger picture, and not understanding how social media works and how it plays in the macro, like understanding what that means and why they would be doing that. It’s like, is it suppression? Is it censorship? Or is it because of how intense this year particularly is? There’s a reason why things don’t flood they’re like, it’s just to me, it’s also taking a step back and not taking myself too seriously when it comes to social media. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about me, it’s not just about the community. It’s like, Oh, this all is happening. And I just so happen to have this niche content. But here that’s also difficult to navigate. So

Shayda Torabi 37:35
do you see or have an opinion that it’s impossible to grow on Instagram these days? Or do you think people can still find success? Because I mean, like what you’re saying, it’s like, navigating hashtags. And like, I’m imagining a majority of people aren’t even like, they’re like, what I need to have hashtags. And like, again, as somebody who is on social media, for the majority of her day, aka me, I am aware that there are different hierarchies of hashtags out there, and all that stuff. But that still is overwhelming to me to have to figure out how to navigate social media, as a brand, who really just wants to make sure that my consumers and the people who engage with my content can continue to see my content. So I know earlier, you kind of highlighted, you know, you need to know what your end goal is for your platform, like you need to know like, Am I here just educated? Am I here to get more followers? Am I trying to make sales, whatever those you know, different goals might be, but I personally find it very hard to grow on social media these days. And don’t see how people are growing organic anymore, which is why I observe a lot more people are are purchasing and inflating their accounts?

Grace Delgado 38:56
Well, there’s a lot to unpack with it you just said. So first off, when it comes to growing, is it impossible to grow on social media? Again, it’s the looking at the macro, like we are talking about, like, I really do feel that the time of mega influencers is dead. I don’t think that people want like influencers with hundreds of millions of followers. And that’s great. Like for the average person to do that. Like, let’s say James Charles, like for example, or I feel like he was somebody who like rise up and was recently like, or even like Carly familia, like those are, they’ve risen for different reasons. I gave him the push. Now, if we’re talking about like, just like your average person, average calots. I think it’s staying true. I think it’s been very niched, people like that, but it is not impossible, but it’s a little bit harder, just because of social media in general. And right now, there is kind of like a battle between the social media platforms and so I think that there is a shift Right now and so in 2020 is a little bit difficult. But if you have good content, and the end of the day, you are likeable, your information is shareable, you are looking to experiment with your content, even influencers with millions of followers, when they experienced this experiment in their content, it performs lower, which makes them do more mainstream things. Like the Dolan twins, for example is like when I started noticing this two years ago, when they started changing much of their content. And they said so themselves good was like a very, like personal blog or whatever. And they were talking about how like the people are just are engaging in their stuff. And like, they want to do all this cool, creative things. But those who only have like a million views a video, those videos only have like half that amount. And then like there’s other major ones that talk about like the algorithm and what people are interested in engaged with it. So it’s not impossible. And there’s a reason why I did that is when we’re switching over to consumer adoption, is why I find it really hard in cannabis to kind of grow because you’re talking about counterculture, but then also this huge world of if you take 10 people to them have probably heard about CBD, the other eight people haven’t. So now when you’re throwing those odds into social media, you have to have good content, you have to have adjacent forms of topics that you also like to talk about as well and, you know, kind of playing into what makes your account you because people will follow that and it will grow. And if you’re kind of finding those like a Jason Bourne, you’re not being sneaky or being I think from I think it’s harder for me, because like I’m very upfront about it, about that. I like the cannabis consumption. And so it’s harder to add, like more adjacent things to get people to like me, but like, it’s on the flip side of that if I was somebody who was just focusing on say, like saving the planet through environmental friendly clothes, and I owned a sustainable fashion brand. And I also just happen to own cannabis, you’re gonna have more followers, because the big your bigger topic is something a little bit more relatable than somebody just following a cannabis account. You’re also thinking about, like, how people like you and like, what why they like you, too. And what, again, the quality that you’re putting out, you can get so technical, like are you using reels? Are you using carousels? Like, at the end of the day, like I can get as technical as you want about social media? Because my bet also part of my background is Seo within Google. So like how to get your stuff to rank what, like, what are your best practices, and UX and UI, and you have to take that same framework, but then apply it to Instagram, and then you’re going to discover all these different things that you never thought about how your information connects, because at the end of the day, Google is kind of setting itself or its own platform, Instagram is doing that, and everybody’s fighting for our attention. At the end of the day, you know, are you being authentic? Are you putting out content that people can relate to or that people just like, like and support to and it’s all about at the end of the day with your accounts, whether you are an influencer, whether a consumer, whether you’re a business person, whatever it looks like, or an advocate. It’s what information do you want to share? At the end of the day, cannabis is our friend, we love cannabis, we want to take care of it. We want to see it nurtured and we want to see it progress.

Unknown Speaker 43:20
Now, how

Grace Delgado 43:21
are we doing? How are we sharing? How are we supporting that main goal?

Shayda Torabi 43:26
Yeah, I think it’s such a heavy thing to approach, right? Like social media, like your new business, and you want to be online, and everybody tells you, you need to have a social media account. And I genuinely love the excitement that there is for the cannabis industry, but also confronted with a very real uphill battle that we deal with. Because these big platforms like Facebook and Instagram and Google do make existing as a small business in the space very challenging. And then it just is like, how do you navigate it? What’s the right approach? I know something you and I share a lot between ourselves is like, you know, I always question Should I say something? Or should I share something? It’s like, is this going to be picked out? Is this even the truth? Is this the right thing for me to be saying and, and so there’s a very delicate balance, I think brands operating in the space need to be mindful of because people are listening to what you have to say, especially when you start to build a following. And so it’s just a very delicate balance of being on social media, doing the homework to make sure that the content you’re creating is quality, but then hopefully putting your best foot forward in the sense of leveraging hashtags and posting a certain times of day and all those other you know, things that go into it to make sure that not only are you creating quality content, but then it’s having its best chance at being shared. And really, I just hope people can resonate with like the whole punctuation, it sounds like it is for you, it certainly is for me is like, you just have to give a fuck. I think there’s so many people getting into this space that they want the quick fix, they just want to know, you know, how do I get my video to a million views? Or how do I get a million followers? Or what are the right hashtags? Just tell them to me, and I’ll use them every day. And, and so obviously, like, you know, kind of wrapping up the conversation, you get to a point where it’s like, sorry, if you wanted the quick, easy answer, y’all, we don’t have it, there’s not one way to the top, as I like to say, I think it really is to take everything that you know, you and I are sharing grace and put it through the lens of what am I trying to do? You know, and really asking yourself that question, because I know we said we’re going to get a little shady. I mean, just speaking from Austin, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of people in the CBD industry. And you know, some people have been there just as long as we have. And some people are new on the scene. And it’s just very funny watching these brands grow. I’m using air quotes, because sometimes they’re not really growing. They’re just inflating things for the sake of, you know, taking advantage of social media optics. And, and I think that’s just the very real place we’re in. So it’s like, yeah, you can buy followers? Are those followers gonna actually spend money with your brand? Like, yeah, you can buy likes? But is your photo that you’re posting really informative? Or are you are you spreading misinformation? And so I think that’s where my hope with these conversations is, is not to have reached some definitive point. But really, to just start to have a conversation where we can collectively as a community start to identify. You know what, I agree with that. And I don’t agree with that. This seems like the truth. And that seems like bad marketing. Because at the end of the day, what people

both really consumers, I think, don’t really realize this. But unfortunately, I see it as a brand a problem for brands as well, it’s we’re unregulated. And so those of us who want to champion the right language, get confronted with people who want to champion wrong information. And it’s just like, how do you settle in between. And again, the summation is you don’t you kind of need to form your own opinions, you need to do your own research. If you need help doing research, I’m sure grace would love to spend some time with you one on one, and to help identify ways that you can stay educated because I think for me, that’s the biggest thing I would say struggle with, but like, that’s the biggest thing that I have to manage on a day to day basis is like, Where am I getting my information? And who’s the source of truth? And what do I do then with that information? And how do I arm my consumers and my community with proper information and, and so I think, you know, new cannabinoids are coming out. a hot topic I love to talk about lately is indika sativa. Hybrid and why I personally think those are really crappy ways of classifying cannabis. And, you know, the reality is you still have major publications like High Times who talk about IndyCar versus the tiva. And, and it’s like, you know, no dog to them, but like, that’s the language that we as an industry have been using. And so until we collectively as an industry, change the narrative, we’re all going to be, you know, kind of in this misinformation, gray area. So I think there’s only more excitement to come. It just is hopefully getting people comfortable with like asking questions and not just doing things because it’s like the cool thing to do. But more like, is this the right thing to be doing? Should I be saying or having an opinion on this thought? So

Grace Delgado 49:00
just to piggyback off that really quickly. It’s also approaching the cannabis industry also with forgiveness as well because I know I’ve worked with people who I thought were legit in the beginning and then they turned out not so I feel like if you ever run into a bad if you’re in Kansas right now, you have not run into a bad player. Like you should be careful. Yeah, it’s gonna happen regardless, it doesn’t matter. I have a friend who reached out to me he was like, I have not run into anybody bad so far cannabis. And I’m like, I’m so lucky. Have people have like, just like met you. And then these other people and I’m like, No girl, you’re going to run into it. Stop being like stop looking like it like that. But also like looking through forgiveness to like, people make mistakes. And like, at the end of the day, I start my mornings off with like, just letting go of everything. Like anything that happened in the past. I want to make sure any cringe stuff I did yesterday. I’m just gonna be better today than it was yesterday. It sounds so hippy, but whatever. It’s true. And that’s how I look at people to like somebody with anxiety. Hey, I probably did fucked up something over here and other people probably did that too. So I’m gonna forgive this person. Unless there’s a while I believe people when they show me who they are, I believe people when they show me VR, like, it’s just that’s a whole thing to navigate. So, but yeah, really forgiveness because like, we have so much so many new entrepreneurs in here. So all about like, letting go. Yeah. And then too, it’s like when he talks to if you’re using fake followers, if you’re using fake likes, and you’re starting out, I mean, to boost your brand, the beginning, whatever, like, there’s a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t do that. But this is that’s not the point of this podcast. If you do have them, and you’re trying to trick people, um, let me spill something that’s really terrifying. We know, there, we know your front using fake followers, we know you’re using fake invite engagement, anybody who’s worth our salt, and digital marketing by now. So stop,

Unknown Speaker 50:47
please stop.

Grace Delgado 50:50
For the average consumer. And I learned all of this Oh, my god watching all the drama unfold in social media. If you want a free resource right now absolutely free. If you want me to tell you where to go to learn if people are using, you know, fake followers, and there’s a there’s methods and go to socialblade. Go to socialblade you’ll find out who’s gaining who’s not. In at the end of the day, I’m not here to keep tabs on people. I’ve been there done that it slows me down. I don’t care. I celebrate people’s victories. When you get your 10,000 followers and you get the swipe up. Hell yeah, I’m here to like, support you because I love you. But go to Social Blade man, you will find out and there are methods that you will see. Just look at it, just look at it. And you’ll know if people are being legit or not. So if you’re ever curious, just check that out.

Shayda Torabi 51:41
That website is dangerous. I have spent a lot of time on it. I think you made a fair point, though, it’s like, one we know, too. The proof is in the pudding again, like you can buy fake followers. But if those people are not converting to customers and sales, then Shame on you, but I can’t I was gonna, I was gonna not say this, I’ll say it, I can see where people would do it one to your point of being able to get features that you get at certain tiers. So it’s like, oh, of course, I want to be able to include a swipe up link to my products. Let me just get 10,000 fake followers so I can have these features. The problem I personally find, like why this kind of is top of mind for me. I was scrolling through social media the other day, of course, like I do every day, but especially the other day, and some woman was like getting ready. You know, we’re talking about the elections. And she’s like, I’m getting ready, I’m going to take my CBD blah, blah, blah, she linked to the CBD brand, y’all. I mean, y’all know how imbedded I am in this cannabis community. I feel like I know most of the legitimate brands out there. And that’s even saying some of the big name brands that y’all are probably most familiar with when it comes to CBD. They’re not even great quality brands, like let’s just call a spade a spade. And so you have all this discrepancy in the industry. And yet I see these brands come out of nowhere, never seen them before. Interesting. What do you do? Where do you come from? Who are you, and they’ve got 20,000 followers. And you know what, unfortunately, I think it’s people like my friend who they don’t know their homework, they don’t do their due diligence friends, probably a loose term because I think my friends would know where to buy CBD. But um, that’s some tea. But this person just goes to their website and assumes because they’ve got a beautiful website assumes because they’ve got social media. And guess what this brand even went as far as they got their own hashtag snaps for them really proud of them for duping the American people. But unfortunately, that’s what I see, I see these brands that come out of nowhere, they buy followers. I don’t know who they are, they don’t advocate, they don’t lobby, they don’t educate, they’re just there to sell. And it’s like interesting where you came from over there, all of a sudden yesterday, and I’m not bitter, obviously not bitter at all. But it just is one of those things like I genuinely care about educating customers and giving customers access to high quality products. And the reality is, is it’s unregulated, anybody can say anything and put anything in a pretty bottle and sell it to you. So extra, be cautious who you are spending your money with in this industry of your consumer and, and if you’re a brand, I mean, we might know you’re buying followers, and we might know that you’re inflating things, but unfortunately, consumers are a little dumb. I’m gonna say it. And so I think that’s just again, the reality that we’re navigating as an industry is you can kind of do whatever you want to get ahead. And if you’re here in 10 years, I can’t wait to see you and if you exit tomorrow, sorry about it. Yeah, it’s just kind of like the reality of the game. And so it just left me in a very like, Oh, I can’t wait. People are doing this, but then I’m not shocked. I’m like, Oh, cool. You all want to exploit the powers of social media. Got it. So,

Grace Delgado 55:01
again, just as you said, like if you’re here in 10 years, congratulations I, at the end of the day, my one vote for cannabis legalization isn’t going to matter. I need everybody to do it. Like everyone.

Shayda Torabi 55:14
Okay, so I think there were a lot of lessons learned more. So reality’s checked, in my opinion, I think the real truth is, there’s not really one specific way to succeed or fail, especially when it comes to social media. I think there’s a lot that can be said, for having a tolerance to testing things out. So I definitely hope you guys are encouraged to be a little bit more exploratory with your social media platforms, while also reminding yourselves how a platform puts you in a position of helping educate others. So I know grace shares the same sentiment as me. We really just hope that you will continue to educate yourself so that you can help educate others and I’m so grateful that this podcast is one way that you are helping yourself and your business get better educated when it comes to cannabis, cannabis marketing, and just cannabis education in general. So thanks for listening. I will catch you guys on the next episode next Monday. And if you’re new here, definitely check out our archives. We have a lot of great episodes a lot of great guests. Thanks everybody again, talk to you later. Bye.

Announcer 56:27
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