If you’re like most social media users, you probably don’t pay particular attention to the Terms of Service (TOS) on the websites that you visit for business or personal use. Many social networking sites rely on the neglect of its users as an opportunity to sneak additional items into the TOS. Legally, companies aren't required to alert users every time there is a change in the TOS and the large majority of people do not have the time to sit and constantly compare one version with another.
Instagram has come under fire lately for the changes in the TOS that may not make it a very 'social' network at all. Here is everything you need to know about the TOS of Instagram so that you make an informed decision about how to use this site to promote your self storage facility.
The change in Instagam’s TOS that has been creating this entire buzz is the restriction of reposting or sharing photos that other members have shared. For businesses, one of the biggest pulls of social networking is the ability to curate and share user-generated content. However, Instagram seems to be limiting the ability of users to engage in sharing user-generated content. If you take a close look at the TOS, you will see that reposting your followers’ pictures will have you in violation of the TOS. Even sharing an album of your favorite Instagram pictures could land you in hot water.
You may be wondering what purpose these TOS would serve for your self storage business. Consider this – you hold a competition and ask users to submit pictures of what your self storage company means to them. This would be a great way to collect pictures of customers for future marketing use. However, based on the TOS, sharing these photos on Instagram or Facebook would not be allowed and could even produce a DMCA complaint about your company.
What’s the alternative? Storify is a good option since it is an external content aggregator that collects content based on hashtags. Therefore, you could ask self storage customers to use a dedicated hashtag and then create a board on Storify. This would allow you to share the success of your social media picture campaign without risking account suspension or deletion from Instagram.
Another important point to note is that since merging with Facebook, Instagram now lists in its TOS that it has the right to share and use all content you put on the app in advertisements for any reason without your consent. While as a self storage business, you might be glad for any and all free publicity, consider what it means for your customers. If you will be sharing customer photos, they might not be as willing to have their likenesses used in advertisements without prior consent.
If you’re having trouble keeping up with the changes in the various TOS, then Docracy’s TOS project might offer some help. How it works is that a robot, similar to Google’s search engine robots, crawls the web and places the various TOS pages into a cache. Whenever a change is made, it is then logged and you may compare it side by side. Other resources for keeping up on TOS changes include the TOS Tuesday from College Web Editor. Of course, you can always check USSelfStorageLocator.com for information on how to leverage social networking and online marketing for your self storage business.