One of the best things you can do for your cannabis career is to build your social network. Building your cannabis social network is an investment in yourself, your business, and your future. The key to social networking is to put others needs above your own. As they say, “the currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”
Lucky for you, there are many online cannabis business platforms sprouting up all the time. By building your personal brand online and moving your conversations and relationships offline you can create relationships that will last you a lifetime and guide you towards career success.
Are you ready to become the level of cannabis professional you were always meant to be?
These 25 tips below were crafted for everyone from the premier brand cultivator, to the industry newbie.
- Plan to Network
Sounds obvious enough, right? I mean this is a blog about building your cannabis business social network. But when we say plan to network, we really mean research and create an action plan.
A great networking exercise to begin with is to first write down all the cannabis industry connections that you currently have. Next, write down all of the people that you would like to get in contact with.
On your first list you can use social media to identify if your network has any mutual connections with your wish list. If you identify any opportunities, simply reach out to your mutual connections to see if they would be happy to make an introduction for you. But as always, remember to be purposeful in your outreach. Make sure that you know your strengths and weaknesses, and then start small. See if you can get start with a call or meeting for coffee and go from there.
After you’ve gone through your mutual connections there will likely be a lot of gaps left. This is where creating an action plan for how you will strengthen you existing relationships and forge new ones will come into play.
It’s ok to be persistent (as long as you’re respectful) and remember that first impressions matter a lot. If it isn’t the right time for someone to connect, be respectful of their decision and at the very least they’ll be familiar with your name in the future.
- Know What You’re Looking For
You would be surprised by how many people start networking in the cannabis industry but have no idea what they want to do!
Don’t be this person.
Before exhausting your network, you should know what you want. Do you want to be a cannabis grower, work for a dispensary, or get involved in rapidly evolving government and regulatory landscape?
Also, if you’re looking for new clients for your business, your outreach should be targeted and respectful of your clients’ needs.
Once you’ve found what it is that you want to do, add to your list of potential contacts. Choose people that align with your interests.
As your action plan continues to develop, you’ll find that you become more deliberate with your time. By being deliberate with your outreach you can increase your chances of networking success.
- Attend Cannabis Industry Tradeshows
Tradeshows are a great place to network and meet many industry contacts in a single day. Although in 2020, the Covid pandemic has slowed face-to-face meetings in the cannabis industry, you can still attend digital tradeshows to get your face out there.
The good news is that because less people are walking tradeshow floors, the companies exhibiting have more time and will likely be more willing to help you.
Just remember that in the marijuana industry, tradeshows tend to be regional. So focus on tradeshows in your country of interest. MJBizDaily hosts a number of North American tradeshows, and for Canadian cannabis professionals you may want to consider Lift Expo and O’Cannabiz, to name a few.
- Get Help from a Recruiter
Cannabis recruiters are available to help you in your search for a dream job. Cannabis companies have a hard time finding qualified talent, so if you have something to offer make sure you can show it!
At GroAdvisor, we work with a number of industry partners and place full-time and part-time positions for cultivation companies. Though, our partners focus on candidates with many years of experience.
If you’re a cannabis industry pro, feel free to reach out to us if you’re looking to hire up or find a job.
If you’re new and looking to get started, we recommend that you search for cannabis recruiting firms and schedule calls directly to get some guidance on how to find a job aligned with your skills and interests.
- Join Cannabis Business Social Media Platforms
There are now more cannabis social media sites than ever before. These digital communities are the perfect place to put yourself out there and get connected in the industry.
As with any networking, etiquette is important. Make sure to do your research on your target contacts. Start a conversation by being friendly but also don’t be afraid to be direct in asking for what you want. You will be surprised at how many people online are exciting to help.
Also, it’s ok to have a personality and show enthusiasm. No one wants to talk to a cyborg (although that does sound pretty cool).
Just make sure to show yourself in a professional and friendly manner by updating your social media profile with a photo, description, and any experience you bring easily accessible.
Our next few tips will show you our recommendations for some of the top cannabis social media sites online.
- Connect with Cannabis Professionals on LinkedIn
Yes, you read that right. LinkedIn is actually a great place to network, even for the marijuana industry. Plenty of professionals in every industry now use LinkedIn to connect with professionals, newcomers and businesses that can help them.
When optimizing your LinkedIn profile make sure to tell a story. Where did you come from? What are your skills? What are your ambitions?
If you currently are out of work, put what you’re seeking in your profile title.
Make sure to complete your profile to the best of your ability with any achievements, previous experience, education, and affiliations.
Also, head over to LinkedIn Groups to find cannabis-related groups that can help you identify likeminded hiring managers and job seekers.
- Expand Your Cannabis Business Network on Leaf Wire
Leaf Wire is a relatively new social media platform for cannabis professionals. The platform is like other non-cannabis business social networks but will be more targeted for your search.
Leaf Wire’s mission is to connect investors and entrepreneurs looking to do business and grow the industry together.
If you’re serious about networking for cannabis business, we recommend starting with Leaf Wire today.
The same rules of engagement apply but you may want to show you’re cannabis experience with photos of you in the environment.
- Nerd Out with Other Cultivators on Grow Diaries
This one is for the growers out there. Grow Diaries not only helps you track your data, but you can share your results and ask a community of growers how to improve or avoid mistakes.
It’s like having a team behind you to help you make cultivation decisions. Experience and education are key in horticulture, so leverage this resource to grow your knowledge.
Of course, if you’re a commercial cultivator we always recommend going with a team of professional consultants (wait, that’s what we do at GroAdvisor, and yes that was a shameless placement).
But either way, we always encourage you to expand your community as there’s so much to learn in this industry. Which leads us to our next recommendation.
- Expand Your Professional Cannabis Community with Growers Network
Growers Network is a forum for commercial cultivators looking to hone their craft.
Ask industry leaders questions and follow trending conversations to connect with others who’ve dealt with the same growing pains you experience.
Think of it like the Reddit of cannabis, which brings us to our next social media forum.
- Take Your Networking Search Online with Reddit
Reddit is an absolutely massive forum and repository of information and potential connections. To get the most out of Reddit, you first have to know how it works.
After you create an account, you can search by various categories on virtually any topic in the world.
We recommend digging deeper than simply a cannabis channel, and to find groups specific to your end goal. If you’re looking to engage the cultivation side of the industry you can search for cannabis (or marijuana) cultivation. The same goes for dispensaries or anything else.
Be ready to get flooded with information and lost in the forums for hours, but hopefully you’ll learn the industry from the bottom-up at the very least.
- Join the Cannabis Social Network Marketplace on Weedable
Weedable is for those looking to engage in the retail and influencer side of the cannabis industry.
You can find the lastest products, learn about THC and CBD profiles, strains, concentrates, edibles, topicals and genetics.
This is more of your traditional social media site geared for the marijuana.
- Surround Yourself with Marijuana Businesses on MjLink
MjLink is a business network for cannabis. Find other industry professionals to network and learn from.
As a business, you can also list your company on their directory to be found by others.
Also, you can explore webinars and take an inside look at various conferences such as those of the NCIA on MjLink.
- Accelerate Your Online Networking by Using Hashtags
Hashtags are great for any industry-specific social media search, and the same goes for cannabis.
A hashtag is simply a pound sign (#) followed by the topic that you’re searching for.
By entering hashtags into social search engines such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook you can find relevant information and connect with those sharing the same interests.
We recommend checking out #cannabisindustry and #cannabisnews to get started!
- Build an Online Presence (Personal Branding)
Now that you’ve explored some of the social media tools that can help in your cannabis networking efforts, it’s time to build an online presence.
Much like how companies brand themselves to be recognized in the market, you too can brand yourself to be recognized by others.
Again, make sure that you know what you want first and foremost. Then, make sure that you understand your personal story back and forth.
Once you have a story that’s worth telling, people will be interested to hear it!
- Build an Offline Presence
Building an offline presence goes back to the basics of networking before the internet.
Remember business cards? Their still important. When you’re meeting with people in real life, you’ll want to leave something with them that they can remember you by and contact you from.
- Show Your Success
Whether you’re building a personal brand or speaking with a new colleague, make sure to highlight your success (whether it be in the cannabis industry or otherwise).
People want to know what it is that you can do. Success comes in many factors. Whether it be managing multiple cannabis facilities or simply improving the workflow of your last job, it helps for people to see your ambition and skill.
- Leverage Your Cannabis Industry Referrals
If you’ve been in the industry for some time, your network is one of the most valuable resources you have.
Set up calls and meetings with those contacts you’ve made at tradeshows or within companies you’ve worked with in the past.
If you already have a mentor, ask them who you should talk to for accomplishing your goals.
Nothing is better than getting an introduction from a trusted source.
- Pick a Niche for Your Industry
If you’re dream is to become a budtender, then reaching out to a CEO is likely not the best approach (unless it’s a very small company of course).
Make sure that you’re connecting with the right people in your niche.
Also, learn everything you can about that niche ahead of time. There are plenty of magazines and resources on almost every topic in the cannabis and hemp industry at this point.
You are your most valuable asset, so continue to grow yourself in a way that achieves your goals.
- Provide Value to Your Social Network
Have we driven this home enough? Honestly, probably not.
Most people get caught up in what they want from others that they forget to offer what they have.
Generosity is important when expanding your social networks. See if there’s a way you can help your new contact or colleagues and they’ll be more likely to help you on your way to that new position or deal in the future.
- Become a Cannabis Influencer
Alright, this one is not for everyone. But in today’s day and age it pays to become an influencer.
Becoming an influencer means beginning to create your own content and sharing it on social media platforms.
Especially if you’re interested in the retail and product side of the cannabis business, reviews and education can get your name noticed and potentially monetize your personal brand.
- Connect Your Networks as a Matchmaker
Introducing your network to others that may help achieve their goals is a great way to network.
Just like you, everyone else is looking to grow their social circle. By becoming an industry matchmaker, you’re providing value upfront to your colleagues and they’ll be more likely to do the same in return.
- Start a Cannabis Community
Whether it be online or offline, people are always looking to engage with new communities around their interests. You can start a new Facebook group, Reddit thread, or local club to get likeminded people connected and involved.
It takes some effort to put yourself out there, but it’s easier than ever to socialize online with so many tools at your disposal!
- Dust Off Your Resume
Even in today’s online world, your resume is incredibly important. Our suggestion for improving your resume for the cannabis industry are:
- Custom-tailor each resume and CV you send so that it’s applicable
- Don’t write too much text and consider using a modern and clean design
- Feel free to use jargon but avoid using too much
- Be specific about your experience and your goals
- Follow Up with Your Network
If you’ve followed everything listed above, you will have undoubtedly met a few (if not hundreds) of likeminded individuals.
Make sure to add your new contacts to your action plan for following up.
Social networking is often about persistence, so don’t’ be discouraged if you don’t accomplish your goals at the outset.
Be patient and you’ll be well on your way to forging long-lasting cannabis industry relationships.
- Follow Your Dreams
Everyone has a dream and we hope that we’ve been able to provide some guidance for you to achieve yours.
No matter if you’re just starting out or are a cannabis industry pro, remember that our industry is still young and there’s a lot of opportunity to grow.