Despite Legalization, Anti-Cannabis Marketing Censorship Still In Full Effect

Despite marijuana legalization sweeping the nation, it seems anti-cannabis marketing remains in full effect. While more than half the states in the U.S. now allow medical cannabis, and a growing number of states are adopting full legalization, many companies fearful of a federal government crackdown, are censoring what we can share online about cannabis.  

It seems Twitter has started censoring searches for “marijuana” and “cannabis.” Searches for things like “opioids” are showing up just fine, the Joint Blog reports.

“Without warning, Twitter recently instituted a ‘sensitive content’ filter that is automatically turned on for all users, and the settings to disable it are hidden”, states a petition, started by Marijuana Majority. “As a result, queries for topics that Twitter has designated “sensitive” yield zero results on the search tab for latest tweets.”

“Censoring marijuana-related searches prevents serious people from communicating about one of the most prominent policy issues of our time,” the petition, which is addressed to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated. You can read more info on the petition by clicking here.

Coincidentally, here at Social Media Unicorn we also experienced an issue with censorship while attempting to send an email newsletter to some of our clients via MailChimp.

We sent the below query to the MailChimp staff after one of our messages was flagged for violation of the “acceptable use” policy.

“I appreciate that you do not allow pharmaceutical sales or the sales of illegal substances, but we are a licensed cannabis extraction product sending our weekly menu to inventory control managers at licensed cannabis dispensaries in the state of Nevada. Since medical marijuana is currently legal in 32 states and the District of Columbia, we’d be pretty surprised if you consider medical marijuana products to be illegal.”

Well we were very surprised to receive the below response, stating legal cannabis menus were somehow a violation. 


A real world example of anti-cannabis marketing.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Livestreaming For Business

From Periscope to Facebook and Instagram, livestreaming video is becoming more and more popular, particularly when marketing your new small business. Here are some quick tips to ensure you get the most bang for your broadcast. 

Social Media Unicorn Livestreaming Tips:

Initiate Conversations With New Arrivals

When you first start your live broadcast, note it will take some time to get an audience. Don’t be discouraged. One way to keep things going before you get a sizable audience is to start a casual  conversation welcoming new arrivals. Having the ability to ask questions, make comments and interact with you, plus the other viewers, can have a profound impact on your live stream.

Mention Options to Connect With You

What's better than a #Unicorn? A leprechaun riding a unicorn. Happy #stpatricksday #stpattysday #humor #funny #magical

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While you have a captive audience, be sure to use this chance to cross promote your other ventures including your Twitter, Instagram, blog posts, or other upcoming projects you are working on! 

Broadcast Longer 

The longer you broadcast, the more likely people are to discover and invite their friends on Facebook to watch the video. Facebook recommends that you go live for at least 10 minutes, and you can stay live for up to four hours.

When Livestreaming, It’s Best To Avoid the Following:

Don’t Stream With Poor Connection 

Before you go live, be sure you have a strong signal. A 4G connection is good, but WiFi works best.  If you have weak signal, the ‘Go Live’ button will be grayed out, so don’t even think about it. 

Don’t Leave Your Other Apps Running 

As previously mentioned, to ensure the best quality video shut down all of your other running apps prior to starting your broadcast. Adding in a snazzy overview on the topic will capture fans’ attention! 

Don’t Abruptly End Your Broadcast

As previously mentioned, planning is important! Make sure your broadcast has a clear beginning, middle and ending. Be sure to use a closing line to signal you are wrapping up. 

Regardless of the platform you choose, these fast tips will ensure you have great success with your next livestream. 

Professional Photos of Marijuana: How Hard Can Weed Really Be?

Taking professional photos of marijuana can seem easy to outsiders who aren’t familiar with the detail that great marijuana photography requires. Many a wedding or food photographer has been taken down by a cultivation that overwhelms newbie photogs. As in all great photography, the devil is in the details and quality professional photos of marijuana require the skillful eye of an experienced marijuana photographer and connoisseur. Just this last weekend our team spent an entire day outdoors working with Shannon Dorn of Dope Foto in Las Vegas to capture the true essence of a new marijuana infused product that will be hitting Nevada dispensaries this week. Here are some tips to help you identify a credible professional marijuana photographer: 

MARIJUANA EXPERT: Your marijuana photographer should be familiar with the different stages of marijuana cultivation, the marijuana extraction process, and what the marijuana consumer will be purchasing. If they don’t know the basics of strain development move onto someone else. After all, experts seem expensive until you try an amateur. If you are a serious marijuana brand it is worth investing in the visual images that will determine if a consumer will make purchases of your product.  

UNDERSTANDS YOUR TARGET MARKET: A professional marijuana photographer will take the time to fully understand who your target market is and how they will engage with the brand. They should provide you with some example shots and give you a diverse portfolio of work they have created recently. If they are still bragging about a photo shoot they did five years ago, run! You want someone who understands the technology to create great photography today. Photography- like all creative industries- changes month to month, so relying on old school techniques and technology won’t get you the best visual product. 

LIFESTYLE EXPERT: I always look for a professional marijuana photographer who is dialed into the marijuana community and understands the detail of the marijuana lifestyle in each market. It doesn’t matter if you are in Denver, Seattle, or Las Vegas- there is a unique cannabis community and you want your brand’s photos to represent the community. For example: in Las Vegas the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign is over done. It’s the last thing you’d want in your marketing to our cannabis community because it’s so kitschy. You want to endear your brand to the local community, so they warmly embrace and want to share your images. 

If you find yourself in Las Vegas and are looking for a capable, trustworthy marijuana photographer we have worked with Shannon Dorn at Dope Foto several times with great success, so feel free to connect with her! 

4 Social Media Trends Taking Off in 2017

Social Messaging


From What’s App to Facebook Messenger, more brands that ever before are using online messaging to quickly connect with customers. Brands are now using messaging apps to communicate one-on-one with customers, which is completely changing the nature of customer service. These apps provide a faster and easier way for customers to get the assistance they need. No more being placed on hold or waiting for a returned email.


Fighting Fake News


Facebook has launched an initiative to prevent fake news from appearing on the social network. Facebook is also changing its “Trending Topics” that highlight the most popular news on the giant social network to fight the incursion of fake news.


Augmented and Virtual Reality 


Virtual and augmented reality is more than Pokémon Go. Not only does it encourage engagement by offering an immersive, memorable experience unlike any other medium,  brands are quickly recognizing the value.

Live Video Content 


One-third of all online activity is spent watching video online. Many brands are making the move from Snapchat and Instagram to capitalize on the live video frontier. According to a Think with Google report, 85% of adults ages 18-49 use multiple devices at the same time.

5 Industries That Have Changed For The Better Thanks to Social Media

Social media is a conduit for change and has disrupted several industries from entertainment to education. Here is our list of 5 industries that have been impacted for the better thanks to social media. 


Regardless of your political stance, social media sites like Twitter and YouTube have given big voices from small communities, changing policy from the inside out. Twitter in particular has served as a conduit to a digital revolution and more than ever before brands are taking a stand, voicing their support for political topics, a major shift from past practices of staying out of the “controversy”.



To piggyback off of our last topic, there was no bigger demonstration of brands using their platform to take a political stance than political ads that aired during the 2017 Super Bowl. As was the case in previous years, Super Bowl clips and in some cases, full commercials were released before the big game on social media. It was hard to find an ad that didn’t seem to have some politically charged under tone.

The conversation on the commercials and battle of the hashtags overtook chatter about the game, that was until Tom Brady came back like a vengeance in the end to take the whole thing home.


News is probably one of the biggest industries impacted by social media. From videos documenting tragic police brutality to mistakes to be played over and over again, social media can become a reporter’s best friend or worst enemy.

If you are looking to get your brand connected with influencers and writers in your area, adding them on social media and finding a way to organically start a convo is a great way to network in the social media age.

Small Business

So, you don’t have much of an ad budget. Well, that’s no problem because we have social media marketing tools that cost as little as $5 and have a reach of thousands in your neighborhood. There are so many new apps out, if you are a small business or startup, regardless of the industry, suggest snagging a social media expert to help you get things organized.



Cannabis Content

Marijuana plant growing in an indoor facility

For the first time in history, the men and women of the cannabis industry can operate out in the open. Though there are still a lot of issues when it comes to terms and conditions of advertising cannabis products, there are great opportunities to use social media to educate the public on the medicinal and therapeutic aspects of the plant.

5 Tricks To Selling Cannabis In An Evolving Marketplace

The cannabis industry continues to gain legitimacy across the country and with that, comes the challenges of integrating a formerly black market business into the legitimate economy. Obviously the traditional methods of selling cannabis products are far removed from the days of old. We now have dispensaries connecting consumers with an array of cannabis products. How does one get their products into those dispensaries? Here are a few tricks to selling weed like a pro:

Identify With Your Prospective Dispensary

This is critical. You must easily and quickly be able to get to the heart of what the dispensary needs and values. Asking high value, sometimes tough questions will help identify the problems a dispensary is currently trying to solve. Perhaps they are lacking in a particular variety of cannabis product. While you may have a host of offerings, getting to the root of what they actually need is crucial to sales success. By identifying crucial needs, you are no longer a salesperson – you are a problem solver.  

Practice Good Listening Skills

Take note of the following quote: We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. While this quote is originally attributed to the Greek philosopher Epictetus, it’s been repeated with gusto through generations and for good reason: as soon as you begin talking you cease listening. Dial down the ‘sales pitch’ and listen to what people are actually trying to tell you. You could be speaking to the wrong person or spending way too long talking about a product that has no relevance to their consumers. Pay attention to how much talking you’re doing. If you catch yourself over-talking, stop explaining and start asking. A probing question followed by solid listening will get you further than the best elevator pitch.

Appreciate Your Product

Really get to know your product and what makes it stand out. Sometimes you will only have mere moments of a dispensary’s time and you need to be able to concisely share why consumers will want your product and what sets it apart from the rest. You should be well prepared to answer any product questions you are asked quickly and concisely. Much like the listening skills mentioned above, a long winded showcase of your product isn’t likely to win over a prospective dispensary, a concise explanation will. In kind, you also need to be aware of your product’s competition and how your product compares. This is not an invitation to knock another product, but to appreciate what makes yours so special and how it can fill a need the dispensary has.

Keep Detailed Records

During your exploration of a potential dispensary, it may become apparent that you do not have the solutions to their immediate needs and that’s OK, it happens. When faced with objections or a sales impasse, it’s crucial that you do not check out. Continue to learn about this prospect, what motivates them, what drives them, and what solutions they need both now and in the future. Solutions may unfold in the future that you can now capitalize upon. Alternatively, many brands appreciate learning about the needs of their customers. Notate all the decision makers and people you spoke with. Information fills your arsenal for sales tomorrow, even if you don’t get the sale today.

Always Keep In Touch

Relationships need nurturing and that’s essentially what sales is: building relationships with potential customers. All customers, either established or potential ones, should receive contact from you regularly. Focus on your past experiences with them to check in on how they are doing, provide new solutions as you uncover them, or share with them a relevant piece of information. Contact should be brief and useful, but the most relevant component is consistency. By fostering your relationships on a regular basis you are establishing trust and community, something that is critically important, especially in a community minded business such as cannabis. Keep in touch and they will respond in kind.

Gone are the days of black market sales and we are in a new age of regulated sales. While this is a welcome change, it definitely takes the aspect for the sales relationship to another level. If your brand needs help with sales and service, contact Social Media Unicorn and let us help.


Doobious Sources: Fake News, Stoners, & Why This Is The Movie You Need To Watch for 4/20

Doobious Sources is the award-winning debut feature film by Clif Lord. It is a stoner comedy that combines fake news, two bumbling stoners, and California cannabis culture. This wild ride follows a pair of weed-loving, freelance video journalists who have found themselves targeted by a mark they slandered in one of their exposes. The Reg and Zorn are stoners with a mission as self-appointed investigative journalists seeking to out local scammers and con men. In their blind ambition to secure juicy stories they are led to cut corners and fabricate the truth. When a powerful man they slander in one of their exposes comes looking for revenge, it takes every sleazy move in their toolbox to make it out alive. 

This low budget stoner comedy won the “Golden Leaf” award at the Maine Cannabis Film Festival. Doobious Sources is a modern take on stoner classics like Harold and Kumar, with 98 minutes of hijinks that any stoner will appreciate. The Reg and Zorn are goofily endearing, with clever lines like “I did not realize I was riding shotgun with Jacques Derrida.” For newbies to cannabis culture you might find the comedy stupid and pointless, but that’s ok- that’s the point.

Grab your favorite strain, get a good couch lock going, and sit back while you enjoy these marijuana fueled games. I recommend any indica or indica heavy hybrid to relax and let the giggles happen as you watch Doobious Sources. There’s a reason this film has an 8.1 on IMDB and 99% on Rotten Tomatoes: stoners love it. There is no better way to give the middle finger to fake news and celebrate stoner culture than downloading Doobious Sources on Amazon or iTunes this 4/20. Happy 4/20 Everyone! 

Interview With a Unicorn Talking Social Media with Krista Whitley!

Here’s an interview I did with Vishal Rose from #NotAGuru where we talked about about personal branding and social media for his book “Marketing for Misfits”.


Nevada Cannabis Testing & Regulation for Investors

Cannabis cultivation, production, and dispensaries are all highly regulated through state mandated licensing. With less than 60 cultivations and productions in the entire state and 55 dispensaries currently open in the state of Nevada (as of March 2017) this highly regulated tourist friendly market serves over 25,000 state licensed medical marijuana patients, offers full medical marijuana card holder reciprocity for the estimated over 250,000 licensed medical marijuana patients from other states, and will soon service the over 40 million tourists who visit Las Vegas each year with legal recreational adult use of marijuana starting in summer 2017. All inputs from soil to water to completed product are tested extensively to ensure consumer safety. In addition to the extensive state required testing of the product throughout the process, Nevada is a zero loss state, requiring tracking of the cannabis from seed to sale, offering several checks and balances through state mandated laws that provide investors unique layers of protection to track product. Nevada’s state licensing requires that all employees, sub contractors, and owners become licensed and registered agents of the facilities that they work with or represent, so even the individuals are pre-screened, offering investors yet another lawyer of risk management.