Joe: On this episode of the "CBD University Podcast," getting social to promote brands from influencers to customers to retailers, how you can promote CBD products in your stores. And we'll share some best practices from our social networks to help you out. This is the "CBD University Podcast," and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli the host of "CBD University Podcast." And if this is your first time tuning in, we are glad you found us on your podcast platform of choice. If you are returning listener or viewer, welcome back to our podcast. Don't forget you can catch full video episodes of our podcasts on the Global Widget YouTube channel and the YouTube channels of our brands Hemp Bombs and Nature's Script. Speaking of our brands and social media, what a better segue to introduce my guests for this episode, social media manager, Audrey Bugel, and vice president of sales, Vince Gillen. Both big avid social media users and both here to share out some of the best practices for our customers and retail partners for getting social to promote CBD products. Welcome, both, to you.

Audrey: Thank you.

Vince: Thank you.

Joe: Audrey, first let's start off with you. In full transparency, we operate social media networks for all of our brands, Hemp Bombs, Nature's Script, and Perfect Paws Hemp, along with Global Widget and our white label and raw ingredients division, GWCBD. What networks can everyone find our brands on?

Audrey: Sure. They can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and for Nature's Script, also Pinterest.

Joe: And what kind of content can users expect to see from a day-to-day basis on those networks?

Audrey: Sure. So they'll see lifestyle images, blog posts, product photos, any product launches or new products that we have coming out, testimonials, and even now some influencers.

Joe: And on top of all that, we also like to have fun with our customers giving stuff away, I understand?

Audrey: Yes, we do lots of giveaways.

Joe: And, Vince, when it comes to the retail landscape often, you know, retailers are looking for a way to not only promote CBD brands but what's in their stores out to their audiences. You know, some of our retailers like to tag us and share their stuff. What kind of information and visuals are, you know, as good for, as a retailer, maybe to share?

Vince: Well, I think first there, what the retailers are trying to do is engage with their existing customer base and then using loyalty programs and tie it in, but then also bring in new customers. So I think it's relatively new for us to start engaging with the retailers, and that's why Audrey has been helpful in talking with them to try to figure out what sort of cross-promoting we can do because really it's about getting people in the stores. And if we have a known brand, or whatever the CBD brand is, you know, they have a following and then the story has a following even kind of, "Hey, use each other to bounce off ideas by sharing posts, tagging each other." So that's kind of what we're seeing, but it seems like it's trial and error, like let's see what works, but, you know, it's okay to fail at it, but just let's...you know, you gotta just try.

Joe: And in addition to trying something you have to do, Audrey, is give it some time to work, this isn't something that's gonna work overnight.

Audrey: Right, that's correct.

Joe: In regards to these networks that we talked about, when it comes to how we promote our brands, you talked about lifestyle images, so if folks are looking to tag us or mention us in social media, what type of photos and videos are we talking about using products?

Audrey: Sure. So we just like to see anybody, it's just kind of what we give our influencers as well a little bit of a checklist. So mostly just making sure the product is in it, or you are using the product, or even just pictures of the product. But it's also very important to have the product in the picture and visible so everybody else can, kind of, see the brand and it's not just another CBD brand.

Joe: And when you talk about influencers, for listeners who may not be familiar with that program, discuss a little bit about what influencers are and how we use them across our brands.

Audrey: Sure. So being a CBD company, we have a lot of limitations on social media as to what we can and can't promote. So it's really great for us to have influencers or brand ambassadors and even customers to provide some brand awareness so they're able to push our product out there, sometimes a little bit more than we're able to. And so then we're able to share their feelings and it always makes somebody feel good when they see their friends and family enjoying a product, it puts a little bit more trust into your product.

Joe: And when we talk about influencer, are we talking about celebrities? Are we talking about...You know, with our brands, I mean, we have two of the...you know, we have Nature's Script and Hemb Bombs targeted towards human CBD and then we have...I mean, it's all CBD, but I'm just trying to separate from the human to the pets. How do you get pet influencers?

Audrey: We actually do. We have quite a few pet influencers if you check out our Perfect Paws site. So those influencers, we kind of gather those...everyone who has ever been on Instagram, you'll see a lot of people have Instagrams for their dogs and cats. So we'll reach out to them and talk to them and see if it's something that would fit their pet and their pet's needs. And then we'll, kind of, send them out some products, they'll try them out, and then they'll take some pictures for us and give us some feedback of how it worked for their pets, and we do the same with humans as well.

Joe: And speaking of Instagram, we've also seen quite a few retailers tag us on Instagram. And when we talk about tagging, it's just mentioning us using the app then all of our usernames. What are some type of good images that retailers can maybe tag us into sharing stories that you have seen so far?

Audrey: Sure. So a lot of really good retailers that will share our posts, they generally just show either they have...Vince, you're gonna have to help me out, whatever it's called...

Vince: The acrylic display.

Audrey: The acrylic display, that's it. So they'll, kind of, show their acrylic display, what they have, the products that they have if they're getting anything new in. And then sometimes, which is really cool, is it'll pair our products up with some other products that they think work well together.

Joe: And certainly, and that's a great way to cross-promote. Vince, you know, maybe it's a CBD product with another non-CBD product that they offer or showing up where it's placed in the store in the acrylics.

Vince: Right. I think it's about showing, like to what I already said, when you see the display, it's what the consumer would look for in the store, and that really helps. And again, I think it's about just building brand awareness. And when someone goes into a store that's never been there before for one brand, they're gonna naturally look at everything else in the store, so it's just a way to increase foot traffic and then also increase the individual ring tickets so they could get other items as well. But yeah, I think there's a lot of experimenting that goes on and you're starting to see that next wave of, you know, a younger generation of category managers and people involved they are having a big say in what to do because some of us really don't know the right thing, especially when it comes to social media with the tagging and all that stuff.

Joe: And when we talk about customer engagement, you know, obviously when it comes to social media, both on the retail side and on the consumer side, I think one of the biggest fears are, "Yeah, but what are people gonna say when I make posts?" And what are some best practices for retailers or how do we engage with our customers online that maybe retailers can, kind of, piggyback off?

Audrey: Sure. So we actually...we seek good and bad reviews or feedback just because that helps us grow. So if it's positive, you know, we always try to communicate and talk to those people, and if it's negative we try to do the same. You know, understanding where they're coming from, from seeing their viewpoint, and then growing and learning and seeing how we could potentially change or fix it so it's, you know, not an issue in the future.

Joe: And, Vince, let's shift forwards to the corporate brands, Global Widget, GWCBD, obviously, LinkedIn is a very big network. And we see more and more on CBD, but also industry news now on the LinkedIn network, and you're very active on LinkedIn.

Vince: Absolutely. That's one platform that we see a lot of the executives on it and category managers that they're all looking to see what people are talking about and especially with the publications and the other industry leaders, thought leaders. There's a lot of posts and very good information on LinkedIn. And, I mean, I see a lot of what's happening based on that, you know, the hemp industry or convenience store grocery, whatever it happens to be, you see that on LinkedIn sometimes first, you know, before. And now, you know, even the magazines when they publish their releasing with the issue and people just click through on there and they don't even have to go to the website. So LinkedIn, I see a lot of activity on there for, you know, brand launches, promotions, stores trying to let people know about even some of their, like, charity networks. So there's a lot that you can do on LinkedIn from a professional standpoint.

Joe: And from the LinkedIn standpoint, as I mentored both of our corporate brands Global Widget, and our white label and raw ingredients division, GWCBD, have the LinkedIn network along with Twitter feeds and a Facebook page, and a lot of that information is what we share. And, Audrey, when it comes to LinkedIn, obviously from the corporate side, we talk about corporate giving, we talk about industry news, episodes of our podcast. How about LinkedIn as a future network for development, how have you used it?

Audrey: I always view LinkedIn as a way to show more of behind-the-scenes informational posts, whereas, you know, Instagram and Facebook is going to, kind of, be more graphics and product-related photos. So I just always view LinkedIn as a way to communicate with people in a little bit of a different way, on a deeper level than I do with other brands...sorry, not brands, social networks.

Joe: No worries. We knew what you were saying. Perfect. Anything else I didn't mention? I think we covered it all. I mean, obviously some of the key takeaways for our retailers, you know, see what works for your chain, for your store, you know, for category managers, what networks would work the best for them.

Vince: Right. I think, you know, to me, the key takeaway is that, you know, if you're carrying products in your store, a lot of those brands have a following that maybe know of your store that aren't shopping there now, so why not try to take advantage of their audience and then, you know, those people come there and then in return, they're probably gonna use your audience as well. So it's just a cross-promoting type thing, that's the right word to use. But I think it's a win-win, especially, you know, 2020 was a rough year on all of retail, so any way to try to increase foot traffic and build brand awareness is gonna be huge and worth trying to do an experiment with like social media promotions.

Joe: And we'll make it easy for our listeners to follow all of our networks across on social media. Check the episode description for our handles for this episode, episode number 61 of the "CBD University Podcast," "Getting Social to Promote Brands." I want to thank my guests, social media manager, Audrey Bugel, vice president of sales, Vince Gillen, for appearing on the "CBD University Podcast." Thank you to both of you. Audrey's first time, she did a fantastic job.

Vince: Great job, Audrey.

Audrey: Thank you.

Joe: And just a note to our retailers and our consumers to tag us or use our hashtag for any of our brands, and we'll be sure to share your content across our social media networks for even some extra promotion and publization of what you're doing in your stores or consumers using our products every day. And after you follow all of our social media networks, don't forget to subscribe to our podcasts, that's the "CBD University Podcast," wherever you get your podcasts. You can also watch full video episodes on our YouTube channel and the YouTube channels of our brands, Hemp Bombs and Nature's Scripts, where you'll also find some of those informational behind-the-scenes videos that Audrey talked about not too long ago. I'm Joe Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University Podcast." Thanks for tuning in.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The CBD products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult your personal physician about CBD and using CBD products. CBD should never be used by anyone under the age of 18. This content is not intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.