What Facebook’s Policy Change Means for Your Cannabis Business
Facebook’s limitations, and eliminations, of cannabis business on both the Facebook platform, and on Instagram, have been a grievance among cannabis business people. Cannabis industry marketers have been especially limited by this issue. Cannabis businesses have been banned from promoting posts, banned from advertising, and have been hidden from searches. As legalization of marijuana is increasing in the U.S. and especially in Canada, Facebook is beginning to change its tune.
Facebook and Instagram have often been villainized for their policies, though the intent of the policies weren’t necessarily malicious. Facebook was simply trying to limit the sale of illegal drugs on their platform. Understandable since becoming a marketplace for regulated or restricted substances wouldn’t be the best look for the behemoth social platform. “We are constantly working to improve our search results so that we minimize the opportunity for people to attempt illicit drug sales while showing content that is allowed on Facebook and is relevant to what you are searching,” said Facebook spokesperson Sarah Pollack.
In the interest of limiting drug sales, Facebook also limited a lot of non-offenders. Cannabis advocacy groups such as NORML have been blocked from searches. Now that Facebook is changing it’s policy, Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, is taking an empathetic stand on the issue.
Facebook’s policy change is reflecting the reality that marijuana is already legal in nine states, Washington D.C. and will be legal in Canada next week. I realize its hard for some of these companies to adjust to the new reality. Facebook is experiencing what all institutions are going through —transitioning from when marijuana use was a crime to it being a legitimate enterprise. It isn’t reefer madness anymore,” said attorney Keith Stroup, Founder of NORML
What does this mean for your cannabis business?
Facebook’s change of heart, and policy, means that your cannabis business will now be searchable. However, you first need to verify your page. Without verifying your page, you don’t get to reap the benefits of this policy change!
“When searching ‘cannabis’ or ‘marijuana,’ Pages that have been verified for authenticity will now be included in search results.” – Sarah Pollack, Facebook spokesperson
Your business can now be verified with the little gray check mark if you have a relatively small business, or a blue check mark if you’re a large player in the industry or “celebrity.” Pages and profiles are verified by Facebook to let people know they are authentic. And, arguably in this case, to ward off any black market operators who still want to fly under the radar.
What do these Facebook verified check marks mean?
Blue verified check mark: If you see a blue tick on the page or profile that means Facebook has confirmed that this public figure or media company or brand is genuine.
Gray verified check mark : If you see a grey badge on the page that means Facebook has confirmed that the page belongs to a genuine organization or business house.
How do you get your Facebook page verified?
Follow these steps:
- Click Settings at the top of your Page.
- Click General.
- Go to Page Visibility, then click Edit.
- Click Verify this Page, then click Get Started.
- Enter a publicly listed phone number for your business, your country and language.
- Click Call Me Now to allow Facebook to call you with a verification
- OR upload one of these documents showing your business name and address:
- Business utility or phone bill
- Business license
- Business tax file
- Certificate of formation
- Articles of incorporation
What are benefits to verifying your Facebook page, beyond new found searchability?
The main benefit of the verification check mark is that it will signify to users that your Facebook Page is legitimate. So if an unauthorized person creates an impostor page for your business, the lack of this badge will signal to users the page may not be authentic. Beyond legitimacy, verification also provides implied endorsement and stature.
While it’s not possible to measure the impact of a gray badge directly, there are some benefits you’ll notice right away:
- The gray badge adds instant credibility to your business page.
- Users will know they’re getting updates directly from your business rather than from a fan account or another unofficial source.
- If users want to talk directly to your business about complaints, returns, or general customer service needs, they’ll know they’re in the right place.
- Your Facebook page will rank higher in search results.
Go get your page verified and reap the benefits of this little bit of extra freedom!