Just before Christmas Lorna (my business partner at We Teach Social) and I published our first Kindle book ‘365 Social Media Tips‘. It was a challenge to write and I hope you will enjoy reading it.
As a departure from my regular blogging style I thought I would share the story of how the book came about.
Scroll down to the bottom for three of my favourite tips from the book.
How I met Lorna
When I first met Lorna we were both working in different businesses. I ran a eco-friendly corporate gifts company and had just moved to Co. Kildare from Dublin and Lorna had just opened an Interior design business. We both presented our businesses to the Women In Business Network at the Carlow Enterprise Board that night.
I’m not sure we talked much at the time but we kept bumping in to each other. Lorna was one of the first people knew who also blogged.
When I decided to set up a Bloggers network in the local area Lorna was my first port of call. I was surprised how quickly she jumped at the idea. Little did I know that a few years later we would run Blog Awards Ireland together and start a business.
We Teach Social
Both of our core businesses changed. There was a massive recession in Ireland. People weren’t in the market for corporate gifts of interior design anymore. Both of us had to change to stay afloat.
I brainstormed ideas for a new business and decided to build on a skill that I had built whilst running my first business. Shortly afterwards Spiderworking.com was born. The story of Spiderworking is one I will tell a different day.
As social media trainers the majority of our work comes from colleges and institutions. They decide they want to run a course and they hire us.
Both of us were getting approached by individuals wanting us to run training courses for them but this wasn’t always possible. Running your own courses is always a risk. You have to organise a venue, make sure the internet works, sell seats, travel. It’s intensive work and there’s no guarantee you will make your money back.
That’s when we decided to collaborate on an eLearning company ‘We Teach Social’. By teaching remotely we were able to help the people who contacted us. We didn’t need to book venues, participants could take courses in their own homes. ELearning ehabled us to give students individual attention. We could spend time answering their questions and assessing their progress. We’ve been up and running for over two years now . In that time hundreds of delegates have completed our social media and blogging courses.
One of the things I like about working with a business partner is that we achieve things that we wouldn’t working individually. We bounce ideas off each other. Ideas that would sit on a shelf if I was working alone are pushed forwards. Our new Kindle book is a result of this.
We completed our first free eBook and launched it for St. Patricks Day. It had been a success and we had smashed our targets. So what was next?
The idea for ‘365 Social Media’ tips came from Lorna. I’m not sure what put the idea in to her head but I do remember it was going to be 500 tips.
It was Lorna’s husband Brian who suggested that we make it 365 tips, one a day for a year. I loved this idea, one of my favourite books as a child was ‘365 Things To Do’.
Our former ‘Blog Awards Ireland’ collaborator Beatrice Whelan suggested that we put a date on each tip and tie it in to seasons. If you pick up a copy of the book you will notice that there are tips and ideas surrounding Valentine’s Day, Patrick’s Day and more.
By July we had the structure of the book in place. We decided who would write tips on which networks. We had a rough idea of how many tips we would have to write each. That left us four and a half months to write the book. Then the Blog Awards got in the way.
Every year when we put the awards together we convince ourselves it won’t be as much work as the previous year. Every year it still consumnes our attention. We found that working on the awards along side our commitments to our clients meant that not much book was getting written. In fact by the time the Blog Awards was done and dusted in early October I hadn’t written a single tip.
Time for an emergency meeting. This time we set a word count: 100 words per tip and started writing tip ideas. Once we had a list of tips we could write it would be easy or so we thought. After a long meeting and lots of scones we had written the majority of our tip ideas down. We set ourselves a goal of writing twenty a day.
I think it surprised us both how hard it was to write twenty tips a day. Although each was only 100 words long they needed to be good. We needed to show the benefit of each one and show how they worked. Trying to make a point in 100 words was tough but also good for our writing skills.
I had half of my tips written before I had to go away for a week. When I returned Lorna had finished hers. On my return I kept writing. I worked late into the night and early mornings to fit the writing around my regular client schedule.
Finally we had finished… we had finished the writing. We sent the first draft to our designer and started editing. This phase was the hardest. We read and read and read and edited and edited and edited. We edited so much we couldn’t be sure if it made sense anymore. We read it so many times it became impossible to view it with a critical eye at all. We needed fresh eyes so Lorna approached Sally Vince from Banner Co. Press to take a look.
Her feedback was great and we edited again. Our designer Alan from A2D design had been working hard behind the scenes to make it look pretty. We were almost there.
All that remained was for Lorna to upload it to Amazon and cross our fingers that they would approve it. We were expecting a 24 hour wait but it went up almost immediately and was approved by the end of the day.
We launched three weeks later than intended but people are still buying. We’ve had great support form friends, business associates and clients.
We’ve kept it priced low so it’s accessible to most business owners. It’s £3.65 on Amazon.co.uk (I hope the price point amuses you as much as it does me). And $5.70 on Amazon.com.
My favourite tips from the book:
1. Cool Tool – Rapportive
Use the Rapportive Gmail plugin to easily connect with the people you email on Linkedin.
When you open an email in Gmail Rapportive shows you a sidebar full of info about the sender. This includes their Linkedin profile, their Twitter accounts and their Google+ profile. You can send Linkedin invites directly from this sidebar.
The nice thing about this is that because you have their email address you can personalise your connection invite rather than sending the generic one.
2. Cool Tool – Google Page Analytics
Install the Google Analytics ‘Page Analytics’ Chrome extension to see how people interact with your website.
Once you have installed a toolbar will appear at the top of each page of your website when you view it. This will show you the headline stats. Scroll down the page and you can see how often people click the links on the page.
Here’s what my main blog page looks like:
3. Set an expiry date for your Facebook posts
If you are running a timed special offer or a newsworthy story you can set a date and time that you would like Facebook to stop showing it in the newsfeed. It will remain on your page but it won’t be shown to people who like your page.
- Write your post as normal
- Before you post it click the cross hair to the left hand side of the status update box.
- Click ‘Select targeting’
- Choose ‘Post end date’ from the drop down menu
- Choose the date and time from the calendar on the left hand side of the box
How to get your hands on ‘365 Social Media Tips’
You can buy our book on Amazon:
Thanks to all who have bought it already. Happy New Year!
Master Social Media one day at a time with the We Teach Social Kindle book I co-authored.
Lorna Sixsmith says
I enjoyed reading this Amanda and remembering things. It was just a coincidence that we were both presenting for the first time at Carlow CEB.
Fully agree with you, working with someone else means that deadlines and goals are met plus it helps that we’re both impulsive I guess – and then have to put in the hours to get things finished! Not sure either where my idea for 500 tips came from but by the time I’d written over a hundred, I was glad too that our total was 365 and we could make all of them good tips.
I really enjoyed writing them but yes, they took me much longer than I thought they would too. Sally’s help in the final edit was invaluable. I thought we had done a good job of editing each other’s tips but she found plenty of little errors. Alan did a great job of the design too.
Producing a self published book is an interesting learning curve.
Dee Sewell says
Loved reading this Amanda. I hadn’t realised how you and Lorna met and funny how life works and what brings people together. It was helpful to see how you planned your book and as a result, I don’t think I’ll be writing a 365 gardening tips book on my own, or if I do, wont be trying to come up with 20 tips a day. It’s a nice idea though…
Amanda Webb says
Thanks Dee 🙂
Mike Hoore says
Thanks for selection!