News & Media

Leading the field in online engagement

By: Mick Bourke

  11.00 AM 9 June, 2010

Views: 8620

A new landscape is developing in the online world. When people log on to the internet now, they expect to be able to engage with corporations. Simply providing information without further means for discussion is no longer enough.

At CFA, we're embracing this new wave of online engagement; not because it's trendy, or it's fun to use the latest gadgets, but because it's what our community is demanding. Increasingly, our members, and the wider community, are relying on the online environment to find news, incident information and community safety advice from CFA. As a community service organisation with a diverse and geographically spread membership, we must listen and respond.

It's a source of pride for me to know that CFA has adapted quickly and professionally to this new and evolving way of doing business online. We are recognised across government and the broader private sector as a leader in this field.

We've been running a YouTube video channel for nearly four years. We have a Facebook page with 65,000 fans and we manage various Twitter accounts that provide news, incident and safety updates to subscribers. And finally, we celebrated, in May, the first year of CFA Connect, the only website of its kind in our industry; built exclusively on user-generated content.

No-one else is doing all this, and CFA is rightly cited as a case-study and benchmark for the way to go about engagement in a changing online world.

There are many success stories from the first 12 months of CFA Connect and I can think of a couple that highlight its broad ranging benefits. Firstly, CFA Connect has been and remains the chief, and official, portal of information for CFA members about the Royal Commission. The website was launched on the day the Commission began and daily summaries, media coverage reports and even video blogs from the CFA 2009 Fires Taskforce have been uploaded to the site.

The second example is a one-off incident report from Dandenong in May. We had photos and an article on Connect about the factory fire before the mainstream media, with story updates posted as the incident unfolded. In fact, the media used content from the CFA Connect story in their own news pieces. Since then, the Connect article has had more than 6,000 views.

These are just two examples of more than 1,400 stories published on Connect in its first year that prove the site's worth day in, day out.

Our focus in building CFA Connect and our social media presence has been a strategic one. We're looking at how we can use this online environment to better serve our members and to better serve our communities from a broader communications perspective. In line with this strategic focus, we have recently renamed our Public Affairs department Strategic Communications, which better reflects the role, goals and outcomes of that team.

Our success, though, will not be measured by what we did yesterday. We will be judged by what we do tomorrow. And the day after.

So as we celebrate the first year of the success of CFA Connect, we're doing it with our eyes focussed on the future. It's a new world, with new discoveries and new potential. If you're yet to take a walk through it, I encourage you to have a look around CFA Connect, follow the links and get involved.

Last Updated: 10 December 2015