Crappy Image Cropping on Facebook posts with links? The 20% rule makes your posts POP!

Putting links on your posts is a critical part of your marketing strategy. Without that link so Fans can click to go to  your website, event registration, blog, etc it is just a picture. Links with your images turn entertainment into marketing and Marketing is what your Fans expect and a business needs.

Facebook has recently changed their image formatting so that when you add a link to your image it autoloads information and crops your image to make room. Most images don’t survive the cropping and important elements get cut off. Many are resorting to removing links to keep images looking good which defeats the point of Social Marketing, but keeping the link damages the brand. What to do???

dougs blog problem and result feb 15, 2016
What to do – the 20% rule

Thank goodness Facebook is ran by a computer and contrary to the idea that computers are all thinking and all knowing they are, in fact, quite dumb and predictable. Facebook has a 20% rule for cropping images which works slightly differently for Portrait and Landscape orientation. Note you should always use Landscape as it is preferred for all social sites. But here is the guideline for both Portrait and Landscape. Here is a simple tool for the 20% check


Portrait oriented images are cropped on the top and bottom. This requires creating an additional 20+% of space on the top and bottom of your image to avoid cropping. The red inset on the left image is how it appears on Facebook when posted with a link. To ensure that it is not cropped I put the image into the 20% checker to see how much I needed to add to the top and bottom to avoid cropping. Note: for Portrait orientation images adding space on the sides does not change the cropping.

dougs blog portrait before and after feb 15, 2016

Landscape images are also cropped on the top and  bottom. The red inset on the right is how it appears on Facebook with a link. Notice the image is only cropped on the bottom 20%. However when a 20% buffer is applied to the bottom it forces the top to get cropped and so 20% buffer on top and bottom is still required.

dougs blog landscape side by side feb 15, 2016

And the winner is?!

dougs blog final post for landscape on Facebook with link feb 15, 2016

Hint, you don’t need Photoshop to fix your pics. If you have an image cropping tool like MS snipping tool or Pic Monkey just put your image in any document or email and then clip it and add 20% on the appropriate edges. It doesn’t matter the background colour as it will be cropped out in the final post.

Much success,




One Day Work Week, Full Benefits, Full Pay and other Fairy Tales


While conducting social media training sessions I hear the strangest of stories from participants. Some are amusing, some down right scary. But I don’t think I have heard any so unbelievable as the agency that tried to sell its client on the one day work week.

This tale is true, but the names have been withheld to protect the ignorant (there is nothing derogatory about that word, look it up). While discussing the mechanisms of Social Media Optimization (SMO) in a recent workshop one of the attendees made the statement:

“Our agency advised that we should only post twice per week, but we were not happy with the level of Engagement on the posts. They then told us the only solution was to reduce posting to once per week, so that is what we did. Do you think this was a good strategy?”

hello my name is consultant

During workshops I try and maintain a sense of composure and not react noticeably to any questions lobbed at me until I had time to roll it around in my brain. I do this so that everyone feels comfortable to ask any question or share any experience. Goodness knows I have been told some doozies and making a face or blurting out an expletive is the surest way of blowing that trust, but this one tested me to my limits. However, it does not matter what actions they have taken in the past, their presence in my workshop shows they have chosen to follow the light and that is worth respecting.

After a few moments of trying to hide my disbelief and contain my belly laughs, I decided I would use a metaphor to explain why my opinion might differ from their agency’s.  I said:

“Imagine if you are an employee paid to produce a certain level of work and you convince your boss that to achieve optimal performance you should only come into the office twice a week. I would say you have a sweet job. Now your boss starts to wise up and comes to you and tells you that by coming in only 2 times per week your output is not as high as anticipated and considerably lower than your 5 day a week colleagues. But since you are a very smart employee you convince your boss that to increase output you needed to reduce your time to 1 day per week and he agrees. Congratulations you have just won the best job in the world lottery!”

Social Media is a resource like any other. With the proper skills and management it can deliver good rewards. There is usually only 2 situations when advised to cut back to achieve more. 1. Too much: if whatever is working for you is stressed beyond capacity and about to drop dead, 2. Too little: if the skills of the resource are lacking, the resource is not being used correctly, or the management is not qualified. Social Media Optimization (SMO) is about finding that sweet spot in between.

Much success,


Messaging Apps and the Butt Bomb? Mild NSFW


Has messaging app photo capability entered in to a new age of cyber sabotage? As technology continues to evolve and more apps clutter our phones it becomes a challenge to manage them all. I personally have 5 messaging apps and following all the streams of conversations usually receives nothing more than a quick glance and a hastily typed response. I shall now be more aware (imagine suspenseful music playing now). Though most of us use our apps the same way as when we downloaded them, the truth is that they continue to evolve with expanded functionality and those that use them discover new and clever ways to use them. When images are posted to a messaging app they are, by default, saved on your phone. So what happens when someone hijacks a Whatsapp group for less than honorable means?

messaging app photo butt bomb

I often have several Whatsapp groups going and I only pay as much attention as needed to follow the conversation. In a group conversation only the most recent comments show, unless you scroll up (which I never do). It is quite easy to “Photo Bomb” someone without them ever knowing by adding an image to the conversation and then quickly “hiding” it with a few additional comments thereby pushing it up off the screen and out of veiw. Then later, as I did, open the image folder on your phone to post a picture only to be faced with “OMG!”. In my case it was a bunch of men’s asses. So after I got over the surprise of having pictures of some unknown man’s ass on my phone (no giggles) I smiled. . . and then became concerned. These images were planted on my phone without my knowledge or consent, albeit because of my lack of attention. If my phone was backed up to the cloud they would be across all my devices.  Most alarming is that if I had not opened my phone’s photo library, which many of us do not, these would remain on my phone without my knowledge. Hopefully, this little trick will be used for good fun, but there are too many ways to use if to bad. And even the harmless images of a man’s posterior on my phone under certain circumstances would have been just wrong.

Much success,



Mrs. Smith’s 3rd grade class designs Facebook’s Video algorithm, or so it seems

It is no secret that Facebook is competing with other social apps in a determined effort to be all things to everyone and the last app standing. A short time back they took on YouTube in an attempt for most video views. To accomplish this they rewarded Fans who uploaded video directly rather than using a YouTube link with better looks, autoplay, metrics and, most importantly, increased Views and Reach. If you upload a video directly to Facebook you get an algorithm bonus and Facebook pushes you higher and wider so more people will see your post. This was like magic to many small businesses that saw the views on their posts 10’s, 100’s and even 1000’s times higher than ever before.

This client had a modest 2,000 Fans on their page. These results are Organic

facebook organic video results

Facebook video statistics for Organic video results

This all seems like an incredible gift, and it is, but there are complications created by Facebook that are outside the control of Page Owners. First it is about reasonable expectation setting. Videos receiving many times their normal expected Reach and Engagement can put a shop owner’s head in the clouds. And all too quickly the realization that this was an anomaly not likely repeated can be a real let down. But lack of control is probably the most disconcerting. The two charts below paint a queer picture of how Facebook chose to twist this client’s marketing efforts.

Facebook Demographic of Fans on page and those reached by video post

Facebook Demographic of Fans on page and those reached by video post

The chart on the left shows the Fans of the Page. The breakdown is as the client requested with a greater focus on U.S. and a smaller number for their Hong Kong headquarters. Additionally, India is a focus for select inventory. The demographic targeting is accurate. However, the Fans Reached in the month of the “great” video shows a markedly different Reach with Malaysia, a non-target country, receiving 50% of all views. Small businesses benefit from precise marketing to make sure money and effort is not wasted. So it is curious why Facebook’s video algorithm decided that a country excluded from the client’s target market now be included? As this action was created from the Facebook algorithm there was no way for the Page owner to influence, redirect or even object.

As we see Facebook and other social sites try and increase Engagement rates to demonstrate relevance we will likely continue to see marketing actions that are outside the Page owner’s control or wishes. Taking this to a logical conclusion of how does Facebook make money off of this I can only conclude that as Facebook takes more control away from non-sponsored ads they will be encouraging Facebook page owners to regain control through paid targeted promotions. And of course there is social media optimization which continues to be a powerful marketing tool.

Much success,




http://www.PRDA.Asia is a leading social media management agency

Dad, Brother, me and the Southwestern United States Road Trip 2015

My annual road trips with my Dad and Brother are the highlight of my year. We have shared experiences that are near impossible to put into words, and maybe that is best as they are our memories and do not need to be shared.

Doug's blog image of father brother and himself

But a week long road trip from Las Vegas Nevada through Sedona New Mexico to the Grand Canyon up to Bryce Canyon in Utah and then the stunning Zion National Forest some pictures have to be taken and uploaded to Facebook and Instagram. The problem with wanting to post and share your great adventure pics and posts as you travel around is mobile service. On our last years big road trip I had to purchase 3 different SIM cards just to maintain coverage as we travelled from Yakima Washington to Sturgis North Dakota. This year I took along a GlocalMe. This device kept me connected if there is any 2g/3G/4G service available. The 11 dollar a day cap on data costs meant it was much cheaper than the US$20 dollar a day roaming data  fee my phone provider was charging. Even if I had again purchased “pay as you go” SIM cards I would have needed multiple SIMS to cover all the travel areas we visited and at US$50 dollars each with a 1gig max on data the cost and complexity was just silly. Another great thing about the GlocalMe was that it connects up to 5 devices. So even my Dad and Brother when they hit dark spots in their service areas they stayed connected with my GlocalMe at no extra charge.

GLM photo of GLM against field backdrop

The GlocalMe was light and portable. We just set it on the console of the car or the desk in the hotel room for complete WiFI coverage. When we went for a hike it was durable enough to be tossed in the backpack or slipped into my back pocket. GlocalMe let us enjoy our Family trip with ease, from our posting of pictures to keeping from getting lost with our GPS Google Maps always working. My Dad, Brother and me have many more long road trips planned and the first thing to get packed is the GlocalMe.

Much success,


StarTrek Current

Social Media Strategy Optimisation Intensive Workshop Session 1

After receiving the highest rating for content and delivery of any presenter for this subject by Pacific Conferences I decided that it might be good to share some of presentation and and what I learned from the participants. I will start with a Case Study and then share two discussion points. The blog is based on this slide presentation:

Organic reach is decreasing as changes to algorithms that determine what is seen in your newsfeed is adjusted to “advertise” the social media business model. Therefore, it is critical for success to fully leverage the most out of our social media strategy and the tools available. Approximately 9 out of every 10 companies that ask me to measure their social performance score below 20% effectiveness. With salaries of skilled employees rising along with advertising rates, more companies are starting to ask the right question: Where has the other 80% effectiveness gone?

Case Study: Star Trek

The original series was delivered by Desilu Studios to NBC from 1966 – 1969. At that time TV was using demographic tracking and market share to measure success. Despite high quality demographics, it lacked market share and so was cut. In syndication it continued to be driven by loyal demographically targeted fans and is still a major hit 40 years later.
star trek combined small.

Morale to the story is to focus on your correct demographic and deliver quality content and they will deliver ROI!

Discussion Point 1:

Communications is changing less than it appears. Even though it seems that there has been a dramatic shift in the way we communicate it has really changed little. It is more that the bits have shifted about than the fundamentals have changed. We used to read on paper and talk over the phone and share stories at cocktail parties. Now we read our news online, talk using messaging apps and share our stories on social media. What decided what originally made it to print, phone or cocktail party are still the same factors that drive online, messaging apps and social media. The only way to get talked about is to either pay for it or earn it. To earn it you need to popular, trustworthy, scandalous or another factor that basically involves getting sufficient enough interest from others to get tongues wagging. And depending on how you managed this you ended up on the Washington Post/ Huffington Post, Phone/ Whatsapp or cocktail parties and social media.

Morale of the story is that the fundamentals of communication remain constant. Technology shifts how we use and execute communications, but when approaching a new app, don’t look at it is was completely foreign. Remember the basics and learn the enhancements. It is easier to move forward with confidence if you don’t forget where you have been.

Discussion Point 2:

Effective communications is not a matter of either quantity or quality (usually interpreted as creative). PRDA has conducted research for the better part of a decade and found what determines how well received a brand’s content is depends more about science and process than either quantity or quality (creative). As algorithms become more refined to better process the trillions of posts made daily on social media it is necessary for social media applications and those that look to source and share content to use more refined search techniques. Example: a few years back if you posted a picture of a cat the algorithm that chose what would appear in your news feed let most everyone see it. But now that we all have 1000+ Friends and Page Likes on several apps with businesses posting 1000’s of posts a day that in February of 2014 it was estimated that there were 3.8 million cat pictures posted each day. Clearly the algorithms can’t put 3.8 million pictures of cats in your news feed each day. The algorithms became more sophisticated taking in to account other Social Media Optimisation factors such as keywords, length of message, quality of image, performance of person posting, engagement levels, time of day and more.

Morale to the story is that to be successfully seen in Organic results (real people) quality needs to be interpreted beyond creative to include Social Media Optimization (SMO). By using this strategy you can publish more messages across more platforms and achieve greater engagement and with further refinement by monitoring results data you can start to achieve customer segmentation and much more.

Much success,



The real and dangerous consequences; Has Calvin Klein gone too far?


Calvin Klein (CK) has always built their campaigns around positive moments in our sexual cultural history and exploited them in the most negative of ways. But with rising HIV rates is it correct to promote high risk sexual behaviour? CK’s proven formula is simple but effective. Take a point in cultural history that can be supported and then twisted into something scandalous and usually sexual and plead naive innocence. There has been one exception when CK forgot to start with a culturally relevant premise. CK  used underage models scantily clothed and in highly erotic poses then realized their was no “naive” statement they could fall back too; “Oops you mean pedophilia is bad? We didn’t know.” Just didn’t cut it . But others of more lasting fame followed the same pattern of “We are just simple people making some nice pictures . . . ” This latest “same sex” campaign follows this pattern and I will explain later why it is most dangerous but first a little history.

In 1980 Brooke Shields was a very big film star and at age 15 she appeared in what seemed like an innocent enough ad for Calvin Klein jeans (see photo) but the tag line set the world ablaze. “Nothing gets between me and my Calvin’s”.  CK’s response was, more or less, “she appears on screen with less on so what exactly is wrong with the pictures?” True enough, but having Brooke tell the world that someone would, or would not get in her pants may have been naive for a 15 year old child, but was very well understood by the adult who wrote the line.

This was followed a few years later by Marky Mark’s (who at the time was a Pop star looking to move into movies as Mark Wahlberg) underwear ads which featured fresh faced Marky Mark in one of the first male underwear ads. It was again just innocent, but the effect was full on. The gay world could not buy enough boxer briefs and if it was left at that it would have been fine. However, Marky Mark (Mark Wahlberg) at the time was strongly homophobic and that created, again, huge media scandal. Mr. Wahlberg went on record for using the “F” word in a response to a congratulations letter for his success from Elton John. Again we can say that at his young age Mark was naive, but the creators of the campaign new exactly the response to expect.

We now move to the latest campaign by CK where they are featuring the first same-sex advertisement ever. This seems like a very tame premise considering we have been witness to years of CK ads seeing gender blending in so many ways. I guess those were just orgies which is more pedestrian than the more progressive same sex ads they are now featuring. But again an innocent pretext with an scandalous hook. (Video) we see that it has little to do with same-sex rights making history and more about anonymous sex and hook up apps. As a gay man I have no issue with anonymous sex in fact I am on record as saying it is how we say hello. My issue is that under the thin veil of supporting same sex rights is the much more troubling consequence of HIV rates rising at a terrifying rate and the many other issues that come from high risk behaviour.

If CK is going to use this premise they should take responsibility and acknowledge early all that goes with it. The health, physical and emotional risks that come with random anonymous sex. This is no longer about mental imagery that comes from Brooke’s jeans or Marky’s boxer briefs. This is encouraging real world high risk behaviour and that has very real and immediate consequences. And as I stated in the beginning, whereas Brooke and Marky and myself at the time where too young to fully “get it” the creators of the campaigns understand very well, and now I am old enough to care.

Much success,