CannaBuzz Uses Honeycommb to Build a Safe Cannabis Social Network
CannaBuzz had been an idea in Sam Houston’s head for quite a while before it became a reality in early 2019. Looking for a solution to quickly build a custom social network, Sam, the founder of Cannabuzz, a Cannabis Social Network looked to Honeycommb for help. Sam has a strong background in community management and a desire to give the cannabis world what the free network they desire for their own censorship free content was a great foundation.
Q) First off, introduce us to CanaBuzz. What is it? And what are you looking to continue to build?
A) CannaBuzz is a grassroots grown social network for the cannabis community. Our community is made up of people that are interested in cannabis, in whatever form. We launched earlier this year, in late April, and after 5 months in we are at just under 10,000 members. In these early days, our members are mostly cannabis growers or content creators that have had trouble on networks like Instagram and YouTube, due to their content restrictions that unfairly hurt the legal cannabis industry and community. Our goal is to become the place for folks from around the world to connect with one another, to learn more about and celebrate cannabis while creating a safe community for everyone to hang out, online and offline.
Q) What was your experience like to set up your own Cannabis Social Network?
A) Getting set up with Honeycommb was pretty easy, overall. The hardest parts were, honestly, navigating the app setup processes with Apple and Google. Outside of that, once we had the domains hooked up and we had updated the assets and copy in the admin panel, we were good to go! It was surprisingly simple to launch. The hard part isn’t the launch of the app itself, it’s the launch of the community 🙂
Q) Building on that, what advice would you give to someone setting up their community on Honeycommb for the first time?
A) When you’re first launching, start with a core group of people that are going to help you post content in the app at launch. Get at least five or more, the more the merrier. Make sure there’s good content in the community for people to check out. And create a beta launch email list! When you’re ready to let your first set of users in, invite a group of people that will be your first set of beta users. Let them know that you want their feedback on which groups to create, let them know that you want to feature cool posts in the app, etc. Give that first group of users the vibe that they’re part of something early and that they’re helping you make it happen.
Q) What’s an effective toolset on the platform that you use to engage with the community?
A) One of the most fun things we’ve done in the community is asking people to post pictures of their #CannaDog, the dog that they hang out with. We saw dogs hanging out with people, dogs working on the farm with their owners, and of course, there were tons of cute photos. To kick it off, we send out a push notification and pin a photo post as a piece of sponsored content within the app where we ask everyone to post content with a particular hashtag during a certain period of time. During that time, we then rotate through different posts that we featured at the top of the home feed. This helps us spotlight cool stuff in the community plus give a prompt to users, hopefully giving them inspiration for how they can contribute to the community or at least giving them some fun stuff to look at or read.
Q) Tell me a bit about your group strategy and how you leverage groups!
A) As a Cannabis Social Network, we want to create groups for everyone. Our groups are broken out into different Interests/Topics. For example, we have a group for using cannabis as medicine, we have groups for folks that like to Vape cannabis and another group for folks that like to smoke it, etc. Beyond the interest groups, we’ve also created geography based groups so that members can meet others that live in their state or country. We’ve just begun testing groups for folks that have cannabis groups on Facebook, as CannaBuzz can be a safe refuge for those folks. I’m also testing out the idea of groups for specific brands or entities/personalities in the industry. I’m always testing things to see what will help grow the community!
Q) Besides giving your members a safe digital space, what other value have you offered the community to increase loyalty?
A) People really like our CannaBuzz logo stickers that I had created. Every once in a while I do a giveaway, asking users to post content with a particular hashtag. It’s fun to see the stickers later in people’s posts in the app!
Q) How do you collaborate with leaders in your community to create engagement?
A) It’s important to personally recruit people that will be important and impactful to your community. It’s not every day that people want to sign-up and become committed to a new social network, it’s going to take some convincing to get the ball rolling. Multiply your efforts by finding key folks in your market or industry that will post engaging content and help pull people over to your community. Find influential people in your industry, get them in your app, and bring their following over to your community.
Q) What have been some of the most important tactics and tools for driving growth?
A) I did many podcast interviews and live YouTube shows in the first couple of months of launching CannaBuzz. It was important that people understood that I was authentic, that I had properly considered concerns around privacy and security, and people needed to see that CannaBuzz is actually legit. It’s extremely hard to compete with Instagram or other apps that people use so you have to get creative. I’ve focused on building relationships in the community, sharing our story, and I’m looking for ways that we can cross-promote and cross-pollinate with other brands and communities in our space.
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