Tag Archives: cooperative social marketing

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 http://www.social-contests.com/check-image/


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,


4 days, 2 Countries 9 industries: Intensive Social Media Strategy Optimisation Workshop

Mary Meeker daily use of stuff 700x400

I recently put a personal challenge to myself. I took on the task of designing and delivering an intensive 2 day social media strategy optimisation workshop for senior marketing members. Most who have asked me why I took on the task asked about the money or the potential contacts. I did not do it for either. With every thought leader at some time a healthy level of doubt should creep in as to whether what you are saying is really the truth. For me, unlike many other thought leaders in this emerging and quickly evolving industry of social/ digital, I am forced to deliver daily.  What I mean is that I have never had the luxury of deep pockets or forgiving clients. My knowledge came from almost 30 years of experience of hands on practical delivery and making smart, and sometimes really stupid, decisions tested against the world and validated with repeated success. Over this series of 9 blogs I am going to summarise what I taught, and more importantly what I learned. The areas covered will include but not be limited too (as I give myself the freedom to innovate or get losts as I choose).

  • Session 1: Social Media in 2015 and Beyond
    • Link so session 1 on Slideshare: http://ow.ly/QFolY
    • What we can learn from the past that will continue into th future
    • Evolution of human behaviour
    • Evolution of technology
    • The interaction of people, content and technology
  • Session 2: Social Media Competitive Analysis and Benchmarking
    • Identifying real KPI’s
    • Determining if competitors are really competitive or just smoke and mirrors
    • Developing a strategy of success based on truths and not perceptions
  • Session 3: Optimising Your Social Media Strategy
    • All the cogs in the machine that make it run
    • Social media is more science than art but,
    • Looking good is never a bad thing or not winning the ugly contest
  • Session 4: Content Editorial and Creation
    • The true test – do you publish for yourself or for your customers
    • Can a picture truly paint a 1000 words
    • How much can you communicate in .25 seconds?
  • Session 5: Brand Publishing
    • The concept of reticular
    • Identifying the key links that make the strategy grow
    • Different platforms, different purpose, same message
  • Session 6: Social CRM and Engagement
    • The 4th most demanded KPI is customer service response
    • Reputation management
    • Take care of #1 your customer
  • Session 7: Lead Generation and Social Selling
    • All those Fans and all that data and no ROI? Let’s change that
    • Predatory marketing strategies for positive lead generation
  • Session 8: Social Data Analytics and Reporting
    • It is ALL about the numbers

I hope that over the next weeks of summarizing and elaborating on these sessions I can stimulate some good conversations  and provide some insights that may be new or at least question the current path of social/ digital strategy.

Much success,


Social Media Tips, Growth Hacking made easy: What Where and Why of #tags

Yesterday I attended a talk sponsored by Startups HK featuring Dave McClure, a true Internet guru, and he stated that the most important thing for a biz to do is scalable, repeatable customer acquisition on a profitable basis using multiple online platforms or #GrowthHacking. I am sure if he had more time he would have added CRM and retention. He also mentioned that it requires effective use of Technology and Psychology. However when I look back at the Tweets #daveinhk this very important last point seems to have been missed. I mention this because if you do not “Get” that social/ digital media is about the interconnectedness of Technology and Psychology then you are likely just pissing into the wind, people off and your money away.

I love #tags Dec 4, 2014

My agency PRDA has been combining deep knowledge of technology and online consumer behavior for 10 years. For the last 7 we have used the same proven process to deliver results that outpace any other agency. I have shared many times before and will continue to share our experience on simple to understand best practices for targeted customer acquisition and retention.

Growth Hack tip #tags why we use them and how to use them for different apps

#tags for 2 purposes:

  1. Aggregate conversations
  2. Facilitate indexing of high use search terms for more efficient processing for such functions, as SERP, Algorithm newsfeed selection, Trending and other database management functions

Whereas #tags can be used for fun or emphasis like “air quotes” they will not add value to your posts to the rule is to #knockthatshitoff

Aggregate conversations – Above I mentioned that I searched on Twitter for #daveinhk to see who and what people had Tweeted. can be useful for a number of purposes.

  • Curating a conversation. Finding what questions are being asked, which points seem to resonate by number of posts, etc
  • Tracking posts from multiple locations for to pull together later such as tagging pictures so that they can be easily found a reposted. This works well for games and competitions.
  • CRM – find out who is talking, identify potential leads, problems, key opinion leaders, new ideas and information
Dave McClure in Hong Kong for Startupshk

Dave McClure in Hong Kong for Startupshk

Facilitating Indexing – this is a fancy way of saying that it makes it easier for computers to keep track of important words (keywords). Words that have a #tag in front are looked at by applications e.g. Facebook, Twitter as more important just like Google puts greater value on some words (keywords). So it is in your best interest to select the best keywords to #tag, as the more often it is done by more people the more likely it will show up in News Feeds. Describing how all that algorithm stuff works is too much for this blog, or me for that matter, but if you follow these simple guidelines you will do well.

  • Pick words or phrases that you would search on if you were looking for something on Google. On Facebook and Twitter you can enter the #tag directly into the search bar and it will search for you. Ask yourself, is what shows up in the search related to your message? Does it show up enough to show it is important? I searched on #pickmynose and only got two results. This is not important enough. But when I searched on #doorknob there were a gagillion results. Clearly people are more interested in doorknobs than picking their noses.

#pickmynose Dec 4, 2014

Apps have different requirements and etiquette for #tag use

Using #tags on different apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Sina Weibo have different requirements. Here are some basic guidelines for use.

Facebook and Sina Weibo – #tags are used as part of the message. They are used to replace words that appear as part of the message in the example below. For Sina Weibo the #tag needs to go on both sides of the word. #tag#

#paulgerrard Dec 4, 2014
#sinaweibo Dec 4, 2014

Twitter #tags can be used in the post, but it is customary to add #tags to the end of messages to provide more search terms which helps to aggregate conversations.

#twitter dec 4, 2014

Instagram is the craziest. Outrageous number of #tags are used to help with search and description. This is primarily because Instagram does not have any good 3rd party apps or a desktop version to better manage content and so lots of descriptors (keywords) are turned into #tags. Please note that what looks acceptable on Instagram looks terrible on Facebook.

#instagram Dec 4, 2014

#tags can be an important tool for your social media/ digital marketing strategies. But like all things, understanding the how, what and why will take you further. PRDA uses this strategy effectively across multiple platforms for clients to intensify the result and produce additional value such as search and CRM.

Much success,



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

Scrooge’d up this years social media? Time for a New Years Resolution!

This has been a ball buster of a year for social media especially in Asia. If you are a small business then you know how discouraging it can be trying to maintain a Facebook page and wondering why you are even trying??? Well its not all your fault and much better bigger and better funded companies have failed gloriously so, if it helps any, you are in good company.

dougs blog scrooge dec 2

What the F*** happened!?

The part that is not your fault:

  • Facebook cut way back on organic reach forcing everyone to buy advertising to be seen.
  • Whatsapp became a big player and did nothing!
  • Instagram is a huge player and did nothing!
  • Sina Weibo is a huge player in China and created chaos and confusion
  • Twitter remained itself. . .

-This chart shows 4 of Hong Kong’s most visible local brands achieving terribly low scores on social media effectiveness.

Hong Kong Fav Brands on Facebook Dec 2, 2014

What is your fault:

  • You tried to do it yourself or you hired some dumbass intern because they “were young and cheap”. Ask yourself, when deciding on a CFO, Obstetrician, or who is going to fly your private jet do you say, “Give me the young cheap one”.
  • Can your social media expert, even if it is you, name three factors that affect post performance on Facebook? Well can they????

The answer:

Social media is not one thing. It is a wide network of interconnected media channels with 2 very important components that make it work: People and Technology.

  • People is the number one answer why I hear so often “we are doing a good job on social media. People really seem to like our stuff”. But, in fact, the performance is #epicfail (see the picture). PR companies specialise in the “People” part of social media. All People experts are really pretty shit at it. Otherwise we would have perfect marriages, kids, be rich and thin and want to stay longer than 4 days when visiting our relatives. But we aren’t because we really aren’t that good with “People”.
  • Technology is the equalizer. It is a streaming source of numbers that do not lie, make value judgements, tells you your ass looks fat or that your homemade pumpkin pie tastes store bought. Numbers are Zen, they just are. . . Technology drives all social media in the form of algorithms. Algorithms make determinations about “People” based on frequency of keywords, activity at different times of day, past patterns of behaviour and many other measurable actions. And you know what? Algorithms are pretty good at people. They are better at People then People are much of the time. Social media and digital experts (SEO, data analysis, database engineers), these are the social media gurus. They calculate based on past preference what needs to be posted across what channels to get maximum direct and residual effect. Residual being last search results or continued appearance in newsfeeds, downstream posting, etc.So this year be smart, run your business like a business and make the hard choices based on “What makes you money!”.

Happy Holidaze,



Incubator 2.0: Social Cooperation for SME and Start up Marketing

A new way of doing business is here. Most don’t even recognise it yet, but they take part in it daily. It is collaborative or cooperative marketing. Whereas there is still flexibility in the definition, it is based on the  simple common sense ideas as strength in numbers and the sum of the parts are greater than the whole. But it is also based in sound results data which makes it undeniable.cooperate definition

Jeremiah Owyang (@JOwyang) has recently released some powerful financial data on the “collaborative” economy reaching back to 2002.  His definition is about technology that allows for efficient sharing of services such as UBER and AirBNB. This definition has popularity as it is the basis for most current start up models.

Small Business Saturday takes social cooperation to the streets. Started by American Express to coordinate marketing efforts of SME’s to promote sales for the Saturday following Thanksgiving in the U.S., it has proven hugely successful. As reported in an article by CNN in 2012 SME’s reported that Black Friday and Cyber Monday had little effect on their sales, but the coordinated marketing effort for Small Business Saturday delivered US$5.5 billion in sales for the day. Note Black Friday, which favours large retail outlets, saw only US$1 billion in sales in 2012.

Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) is developing the extended incubator. Having seen the success of other incubators such as Y-Combinator has envisioned extending beyond development to product launch. In the incubator model, resources and knowledge are brought together to provide a heightened environment for success. However, there does not exist an “incubator” for after the product is developed. How do you go from not known to a necessity?

In these three examples I touched on three key points of Incubator 2.0 or as I like to call it the Social Media Cooperative. And the there is the fourth which differentiates  from the common aggregator model which collects and lists businesses under a single brand (e.g. Uber, Expedia, Yelp). The key points are:

  • Having a platform and interface that allows SME’s to join, contribute and participate
  • SME’s power the world, they generate more revenue and employ more people than the multinationals could even dream about. SME’s ROCK!
  • There needs to be an effective model where SME”s can tap into an existing collective of resources and knowledge
  • Rather than aggregate the model needs to propagate

Unlocking the secrets of social media:

Fundamental to all social media and including search is Like, Comment and Share. The more you do, the better the results. This model suggests that instead of creating an app that aggregates businesses such as Groupon mobile app which may have 100,000 businesses represented, we advocate establishing digital footprints for each brand. This would mean 100,000 Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instagram streams, Blogs etc. and the good search that results from this optimised content. But more importantly you have 100,000 healthy communities built of Fans/ customers that have joined these brands because they chose to. Consider this, which do you think is more valuable to a business for ROI?

  • Having 10,000 Fans on your page that chose to be there and are actively engaged
  • Paying Facebook to push your ad to 10,000 random people

Next Step:

Now that we have these 100,000 businesses how do we get it to work? Technology and expertise play a large role. Social media is all about understanding algorithms and online consumer behaviour. By leveraging knowledge of these along with a proven process and a technology backend driven by a crowdsourcing model, science becomes magic. By effectively posting on these 100,000 businesses profiles using optimised content and then systematically cross promoting through Share, Like and Comment we have proven to increase Organic reach by 20 times! And in addition to an increase in organic reach, each brand that cross promotes using Likes, Comments and Shares gets exposed to a new and wider range of Fans/ customers. This works the same way as when we share a post from a friend and in doing so all our friends get to see this post and they also get to see who it originally came from.


This can only work with cooperation. SME’s must recognise the value in sharing promotion. What we have found odd is that a brand will not hesitate having their advertisement on the same website, newspaper page or bus stop as other businesses, but they hesitate when asked to cross promote. This is where successful activities like Small Business Saturday are proving that by sharing and cooperating a business does not jeopardise their brand and market share, but in fact, increases it.

Better understanding:

The technology and process is too detailed to go into here. PRDA has been proving this concept for 6 years and it has remained successful despite changes to algorithms or popular apps. Fundamentals change more slowly and the concept of cooperation being good for outcome likely to not change anytime soon.

Immediate benefits:

  • Access to a large pool of engaged Fans/ customers through shared communities
  • Highly effective organic results and search through optimised content
  • Efficiency of process, technology and scale:
    • Reduced cost
    • Increased performance
    • Reduced risk
    • Increased services
  • Big Data


Much success,



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

When Fishing for Fans remember the post is the bait, NOT the whole meal

This is Facebook Advertising 3! We have covered simple steps on how to maximize your budget for success and how to use the many options available to accurately target your messages. Now that you have mastered that, it is time to start creating the best advert posts possible.

You are going to need an image and a message and here is the easiest way to get them.  Go to Facebook Insights and select the posts that performed best for organic engagement. On Facebook Insights using the “posts” it becomes clear which posts performed best. Hint: they have the bigger lines! it is important to note that if you do use paid promotion the “Reach” line will show as a combination of light and dark orange. The dark orange is the paid result. It should be ignored for this exercise. By clicking on the header row you can sort by column giving different views of the information. Fun to play with but not necessary. You only need posts from the most recent period. As you can see the last post in this example performed much better than the others – pick that one. You don’t need to worry about it already have been posted as by promoting it will be offered to a new audience of people. However, you should take care about promoting posts for events that have passed.

Don’t use Boost Post! You already know that! Use the advert manager!

Facebook top performing posts nov 2014

Now that you have found the best performing postthe next question that comes to your mind is, “Why is the best performing post”? I can share some techniques to improve post performance, but others I can not. Much of what you view in social media is controlled by elaborate programs called Algorithms that select certain posts to appear more frequently than others. However, since these algorithms are written and maintained by the app owner, we do not know exactly how they work. But we can make some assumptions and watch performance. Here are some easy to manage variables to increase post performance.

Content type – posts seldom have one type of content. It is usually a mix of image or video, text and links that create a post

  • Text – Keep it short. Latest statistics show that messages about 70 characters work best. People DO NOT READ, they scan. High value keyword and critical details are all you use.
  • Link – all links that are left in the post should be shortened and, unless with a good reason, direct to your website or other sale point.
  • Images – For Facebook use 1 big, shape is horizontal or square. If you are still using portrait format like flyers or leaflets, STOP IT! Never post a flyer. If you want to post a flyer first create a Facebook Note and post it there and then post to your timeline.
  • Video – Video in place of image? Performance is different with more plays and shares than images. ALWAYS upload the video. Just adding the link diminishes appearance and greatly decreases the effectiveness of the video. Images get the most likes and comments.

Doug's Blog compare video


The biggest requirement for creating effective posts is restraint. Force yourself to write short succinct messages, use only on image and make sure you have include the correct link and it looks nice — shorten it!

There are many more tips I can share with you, but these will get you going in the right direction. Remember your post is the bait on the hook, not the whole meal!

Much success,




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