Social Media Strategy for an impactful and authentic Pride Campaign.
Role & duration
Cannabis legalization was spearheaded by the work of queer, AIDS activists in San Francisco through the 1980's-90's. Somatik, a queer-owned and operated cannabis edibles company, asked me to coordinate their Pride Campaign in June of 2019.
Goals for the 2019 Pride Campaign:
Engage Somatik's queer cannabis community
Promote the sales of new and existing products with engaging and informative content;
Direct donation support and promote awareness of our non-profit partner, Trans Law Center.
My Social Media strategy for Pride 2019 was to establish visibility of Somatik while showcasing a genuine respect and involvement with the greater LGBTQ+ community in the SF bay area.
In recent years, we have seen Pride Parades become rainbows of corporate sponsorships. Corporate "Pink Washing," leverages Pride as an advertising and PR opportunity. Companies that ignore or oppress LGBTQ rights sell rainbow-colored products for their own profit.
As a queer-owned and operated cannabis company, Somatik wanted to participate in Pride while supporting LGBTQ rights and the Transgender Law Center.
I had to create authentic and interesting content that appealed to Somatik's followers and shared the queer story of cannabis and Somatik.
To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, I focused on content that emphasized Somatik's community and values first.
Raised over $1500 in donations to the Transgender Law Center.
Increased followers by 100, and community engagement.
Somatik saw 2019's highest sales month in June.
Somatik launched Golden Berry Sparks during this month. Promotional posts of this product drove outstanding sales and established an upward sales trend for the 1:1 CBD edible.
Chris and Clayton didn't discuss their relationship on Somatik's website or in interviews because it didn't feel relevant.
Because of this omission, I couldn't expect Somatik's audience to be aware of Chris and Clayton's place in the queer community.
In the time of #PoliceOutOfPride, establishing authenticity would help connect Somatik to its queer community and its identity as a values-driven company.
Chris and I collaborated on the campaign hashtag. Our initial concepts included #QueersInCannabis. Chris pivoted from this to a Queer As Folk reference. We created:
Connecting Somatik's owners to the LGBTQ community, Cannabis as wellness tool, and the history of queer activism gave me enough content themes to fill 20-30 days of posts.
I wanted the first post of June to set the tone for Somatik's feed for the rest of Pride Month.
The June 1st post would make a powerful statement about celebration, community and inclusion.
I collaborated with Somatik's Brand Ambassador via a shared Google Doc.
Here you see my original caption for the June 1st post.
This is the live June 1, 2019 post.
I selected a sweet and intimate photo of Somatik's queer co-founders, Chris and Clayton, to kick off Pride Month with a celebration of queer people in cannabis.
The intimacy, honesty and joy of the image helps to create a connection between Somatik and its audience. I designed this post to reflect not only Somatik's queer ownership, but also to convey the feeling of Somatik as a brand.
I kept the caption focused on AIDS activism, Somatik's queer roots, and its place in the larger LGBTQ community.
This post broke Somatik's engagement records for Impressions (2,215), Likes (221), and Comments (46).
get into it
Somatik showed up as its authentic, queer self and the community responded!
My next move was to share the greater cannabis and queer communities and their intersection.
I leveraged User Generated Content and promotional content created by cannabis partners to share our spotlight with Somatik's extended queer family and allies.
Somatik partnered with HelloMD and Apothecarium for scheduled events and promotional sales in June.
This picture is on the set of HelloMD's Pride
Cross-promotional partnerships enforced Somatik's place in the greater queer and cannabis communities. Somatik's partnerships exposed the brand to users outside of our most engaged audience, in addition to generated content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Somatik.us web blog.
This post is also an opportunity to shout out delivery and dispensary partners, directing our audience to find Somatik edibles and support queer cannabis.
Somatik saw an increase in User Generated Content, particularly among the queer cannabis community.
This is a Somatik fan enjoying the brand new Golden Berry Sparks.
Originally posted to the user's story, our Brand Ambassador took a screen recording and re-posted it to @besomatik, with permission. This video broke Somatik's viewing record (342).
Using Instagram as Somatik's primary promotional channel is an inexpensive and effective way to mobilize Somatik's community and customer base. Somatik saw strong early sales for new product, Golden Berry Sparks, as well as strongest over-all sales of 2019.
I'm proud of the amount of engagement we were able to build and its translation to sales.
Two things I learned:
As I collaborated with Somatik's Brand Ambassador, it became clear that Somatik's Instagram account was not implementing a consistent image identity.
Somatik's CEO felt that "junky" images and accounts can sometimes leave an impression of authenticity, but agreed that the "fast and loose" approach wasn't returning the engagement numbers Somatik needed.
However, Somatik is a brand that puts a lot of care and craft into every product. Because Instagram is such an image-focused platform, Somatik's audience would draw conclusions that Somatik products, like the images, were quickly produced and poorly composed.
Building a library of consistent, beautiful product images and messaging would become my next project at Somatik.
Later App to Optimize Copy and Post Times
Instagram's caption interface isn't designed for someone who cares about how copy looks as well as how it reads.
I discovered that Later App offers an excellent interface that allows a writer to format copy and hashtags for readability and beauty, as well as schedule posts for maximum engagement.