There has been a lot of activity concerning social media advertising during the past few months. From great new Pinterest Marketing Guidelines to lessons on how – and how not – to introduce changes to online policies and terms of service. Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram have been busy. Here’s a recap of the past few months in digital.

Pinterest Cleans Up and Clarifies

Some good news for marketers is that “spammy” Pinterest contests will now be weeded out, thanks to new Pinterest Marketing Guidelines that launched just before the new year.  Along with requiring advertisers to use business accounts when marketing, or otherwise promoting their business interests, the new guidelines shed light on what will be considered a permissible contest…and the buzzword is authenticity. Similarly to Facebook, Pinterest is discouraging spam-promoting posts by prohibiting promotions in which each pin represents an entry – so no more asking pinners to vote with a “repin” or “like".  Also similar to Facebook, Pinterest is starting to take issue with unauthorized implied affiliations with the platform, such as implying that a contest is sponsored by Pinterest if it is actually just taking place on the Pinterest platform. Here are some examples:

Click here to see images.

Facebook Does it Right

Facebook made some minor modifications to its Data Use Policy regarding how users can manage their privacy settings.  While no material changes were made from an advertiser’s perspective, the way Facebook introduced its changes – clearly, and soliciting buy-in before the changes were made - provided a good case study on how to avoid confusion and potential backlash.

The Instagram Nightmare

If you needed any convincing that burying material information in the fine print is a bad move, look no further than Instagram’s recent troubles. It made waves recently by revising its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy in a way that seemed to allow a third party to purchase users’ handles, likenesses, photos and actions for use in paid/sponsored content, without compensation.  In the wake of the massive public outcry that followed, Instagram retracted and excised the language, clarifying that such commercial use of user content was never its intention.  The new mandatory arbitration clause for privacy and publicity claims brought against Instagram, as well as a one-year limitation period on filing claims, however, both slipped through unnoticed by consumers.

What to Take Away?

If you’re promoting on Pinterest, sign up for a business account, and stop incentivizing repins or likes with a contest.  And, should you need to tweak those terms and conditions, ease your users into it to avoid reputational damage, or risk them leveraging your platform to communicate their displeasure. You’re not going to get away with burying it in the fine print, and are likely better off in the long run being more transparent.