Ahead of our Digital Masterclass on the 2nd of December in the Gibson Hotel, where you’ll hear from Joan Mulvihill, CEO of the Irish Internet Association and plenty more, we asked Joan to give us her best Internet tips. Get your tickets to the event right here!
Remember having to write down directions and watch TV shows when they were on?! We definitely don’t miss those things, but we have to agree with Joan when we say that we miss downtime before the Internet. “I miss being in the moment and experiencing life as it happens without the interruption of pinging updates from my phone” she said, and we totally get that.
While you might expect the CEO of the Irish Internet Association to know all there is to know about the Internet, Joan admits that she doesn’t. “It’s moving so fast that we’re all racing to keep up so don’t feel bad if you don’t know how to write code or if you don’t understand how it all works! Most people don’t know how the house alarm works either, they just know that it does!” Joan did however tell us something about the Internet that we bet you didn’t know – an Irish man was involved in the early development of the Internet – we really do seem to get everywhere, don’t we?!
When it comes to social media, Joan says to remember it’s a conversation, so “be sociable and reply. Sometimes it’s about listening and not just broadcasting.” She warns not to take on all the haters but definitely respond to feedback – even the bad stuff. “This is not the same as fanning flames and engaging trolls. Sometimes people have a legitimate criticism so take it on the chin and work it out.” Her biggest tip is to remember that “it’s not ALL about you – support others, be kind to others and they will respond in kind.” Social media is not a one-way megaphone for you and your business, like any other community you need to nurture your relationships so they can develop.
Contact forms are like a great big wall of disengagement on a site!
When it comes to what you’re doing wrong online, one of Joan’s biggest pet peeves is contact forms. “Make your contact details clearly visible. I detest contact forms – they are a great big wall of disengagement!” She also hates when the price of things isn’t shown – “sometimes it’s okay to have a brochure site but that doesn’t mean you can’t price things” – and poor quality imagery. Joan advises that “if you’re selling a physical product, merchandise it well. Invest in great images and copy” as that’s what people will look at first, before they get to reviews or advertising. First impressions are everything!
The craziest things she remembers about life before the Internet is having CDs, and “when you went for a run you had to measure the distance in your car first (how weird is that!)”. When it comes to the best things she’s seen on the Internet, it’s definitely not cat videos – “not cats! I don’t like cats! I’m a dog person!” Joan’s favourite thing about the Internet is TED Talks videos. “They are without doubt the best things on the internet! Uplifting, inspiring, informing.”