Don’t Let Facebook’s Circle Photo Crop Ruin Your Social Branding

Remember when you put a lot of effort into picking just the right Facebook profile photo? Remember how angry you were when it looked way worse than you’d hoped because Facebook in its infinite wisdom cropped out half your face?

[No? Just me?]

As its user base scoots toward the northern range of the age demographic (is that a nice way to say “old”?), Facebook has done quite a bit to streamline that process by introducing a built-in crop tool and preview options. But as the entire internet – including Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter – seems to be hopping on the “circular profile photos” bandwagon, keeping up with the latest changes hasn’t always been easy. (Read this Facebook support thread for some of my favorite reactions.)

Nevertheless, whether you’re a brand or a human, you want to try to put on your best face through social channels. Anecdotally, I’ve noticed more of the Facebook pages SCG manages auto-cropping profile images not just in the feed but on actual company pages. When Facebook and others start rolling out wider changes to the way they present your profile photos, you should be ahead of the curve. Here’s how: pick the right photo. That’s it.

1. Pick the right photo.

This might be easier said than done, and it’s even easier shown than said. Brands with square logos are right to be miffed when Facebook forces their quadrilateral visuals through a lens of a completely different shape. (Boy, I sure am good with idioms.) But when the brand name alone is enough, even without the iconic shape…

… you’ve got a good starting point.

The basic way to work around those limitations is to take the essential part of your logo (name, icon, etc.) and remove any hard borders from its design, rendering the edges inconsequential and therefore croppable.

[Leaps and bounds, Weather Channel.]

[You’re on thin ice, Domino’s.]

In some cases, when updating your profile photo, Facebook’s preview tool will actually show you which parts of the square will be cut out in the circular crop. If not, use an online cropping tool like LunaPic or a photo editing application like GIMP or its paid version, Photoshop. (Eyyyyy.)

Use it to your advantage.

See how we added a festive wreath around Plum’s iconic face for our profile photo? By taking away his ears and claws (sorry Plum), we made the unnecessary limitations imposed by Facebook work in our favor. It’s still recognizably SCG, it’s full of holiday cheer – and most importantly, it’s reversible, meaning we can go back to something more neutral when there’s not a seasonal tie-in.

Need help keeping up with the best practices for your social media? Or maybe getting it off the ground? Let us know.

We’re big fans of this content marketing stuff, right down to the nerdy nitty-gritty.

[Play-Doh has lost the war on every front.]

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Jason Dafnis

With a diverse background in journalism, radio, entertainment press and blogging, Jason helps tie together B2B assignments with a creative editorial drive. An experienced web content creator, he bolsters clients’ efforts with specialized social media outreach […] Read Bio »


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