The Cannabis Humble Brag – Good Business or Bad Karma?
Are you trying to be a niche celebrity or promote the cannabis plant?
It is really hard to get cannabis or CBD traffic to your website in the cannabis space because, as many of you know, you can’t buy traffic. Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the rest of them will not take our money for ads or boosting posts. While there are a few ways to get traffic like ads and sponsored posts on cannabis sites, one common, prevalent them in the cannabis space is the dreaded humble brag.
The Origins of the Humble Brag
What is a humble brag and how did it start? Believe it or not it is not a cannabis creation but a creation of Internet marketers in the early 2000s as a way to establish yourself as an industry leading expert or “authority figure”. The theory behind it was that if you could establish yourself as an expert or industry leader, you would get more calls from people like news services and PR agencies when they needed quotes for stories about your industry. Those stories would be published and include a link back to your site. It becomes a self-fulfilling feedback loop as the more stories you are quoted in, the more SEO links, the higher you rank, the more your names comes up as an industry leader or authority figure.
Once you are considered an authority figure and your sites have tons of great SEO links, you can now pitch products, courses, do email blasts, and get paid by other companies in your industry to pitch their products and courses. Basically, authority figures were the pre-cursor to the social media influencers of today.
What is a Humble Brag?
noun: humble brag
1. an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.
A humble brag is discreet way to get positive information about yourself or your company out without appearing to be bragging about it. Basically, you are trying to tell the world how great you are or how great your product is without using those exact words. Humble brags have to involve a third party, that is how you deflect or disguise the fact you are bragging. Common examples of humble brags include the following:
“I am so honored to be picked to be a speaker as the BubbleBerry Comic Book show….”
“I am so humbled to selected as one of the 5 Smartest Trashmen in the state of NJ, thank you so much Trashworld.”
“I feel so privileged my company TolietTech got selected to present at the Flush and Swish conference in Omaha…”
As you can see, these come off much better than saying, “I am awesome, I am speaking at, my company is great…”
The Defenders of Humble Brags
The defenders of humble brags will say that are just sharing good news and letting people know how they or their companies are doing. If that was the case and everything felt normal and okay, why use a third source? Just come out and say it in the first person and without thanking a third party? It is because no one like a bragger and someone who posts about how great they are or how great their company is soon rings hollow after the first one or two posts.
Humblebrags in the Cannabis
Why is the humble brag so important to the cannabis space? Because you can’t drive traffic to stories and posts about yourself by buying boosts or ads, so you must “self-promote yourself to the extreme”. Since you can’t pay for a press release or announcement about yourself to get circulated, you literally have to humble brag it out there in order to get links, establish yourself as an authority figure, and get people to recognize your content or company.
It is a tough position to be in because we all don’t like people who brag, but what can you do if you actually do have good news or some award to talk about that basically says how great you or your company is doing? Here are a few tips:
-Have a friend or colleague post it for you and tag you. You can then respond with a “Oh, thank you so much Bob, didn’t know this was out there”. At least that gives you a second layer or humble coverage.
-Pay a social influencer to do the same and give you a shout out on a job well done. The irony in this tip is that the social influencer got to be a social influencer by doing the same you are doing but only using pictures instead of words.
-PR companies do this kind of slight-of-hand bragging for a living, they will get sites like us to write about you and do interviews where you can bring up the fact you got named to 5 all-star Dunkin Donuts travel teams and such.
The Humble Brag is a necessary evil of life in a social media world and with an Internet now producing millions of pieces of content every hour, 24 hours a day. It makes most people feel a little awkward doing it but in the cannabis space your options are limited. On one hand, you must get your message out there and be seen as a respected figure, on the other, the story should always be about the plant, patient or legalization message, and not about you and your ego. It is a tough fence to straddle since we all have egos and we all want more traffic.
Cannabis Humble Brag Warning
Depending on your age, the humble brag can really lead to an inflated ego, and that can come back and bite you and your company in the butt. For those that are entrenched in the cannabis space and live and breathe the cannabis shows and content channels, there were 3 well known humble braggers in the industry. One famous one actually got beat up by his current and ex-employees so badly on Glassdoor that his investors took notice and told him to change his tune. There were so many comments about how big his ego was and how many pictures he put up of himself instead of the plants and patients that he has ceased all personal photos and content about himself on the company social feed as well as his own social feeds.
Wait, am I a Humble Bragger?
How can you tell if you are a humble bragger, what are the tell-tale signs? The first one is to check your company posts and social feeds. If your face is on more than 5% of the posts instead of pictures related to the story, it means you are making yourself the story and not the cannabis plant. Are you posting to get the story of cannabis circulated or to become a niche celebrity? The second sign to check for is to see how many of your posts begin with words like “I am so humbled” “I am so honored” “I just can’t believe I got…”. If you have good news to share, say it as a regular announcement, don’t defer the accolades to a third party.
One of the funniest humble brags I have seen went something like this, it was posted by a VC or angel investor. “I am so happy for the DingDong company, one of the companies in my portfolio as I was an early investor, that sold for $ 300 million this week to FrankenGoogle.” This humble brag blows through about 9 different doors of humble pie city but the message is “I am a great financial guy, I just made a ton of money, and I am super rich.” Why not just say “Congrats to DingDong corp on their sale to FrakenGoogle”?
Just remember the cannabis plant should be the focus of the message, not you or your image. People can smell a boast and ego from a mile away. It doesn’t attack people to you, it makes them want to step away as no one likes a braggadocious person.