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RRFDC, town keeping up web presence

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Social media will play a greater role in promoting economic development in the town’s future, regional economic developer Geoff Gillon of the Rainy River Future Development Corp. told council Monday evening.

“We, at the RRFDC, as part of our ongoing promotion of the Town of Fort Frances, we’ll be looking at and working with social media for the town,” noted Gillon, adding how to use social media for economic development will be an key component of their ongoing strategy.

He said Internet usage has become second nature and, as time goes on, “there will be more and more and more of the Internet, social media-type marketing we need to do.”

Gillon said the economic development component of the town’s new website (www.fort-frances.com) has been developed, so that it now clearly shows the benefits of doing business in Fort Frances, provides a community profile, gives information on loans and grants, as well as available property, and links to partner organizations (like RRFDC and FedNor, to name two).

As well, the RRFDC’s website (rrfdc.on.ca) recently underwent a re-design by the Fort Frances Times’ Web Design team.

Among other improvements, it features links to the RRFDC’s blog (which updates followers daily on events, replacing monthly/quarterly newsletters) and the RRFDC’s YouTube channel (which features videos promoting Fort Frances and Rainy River District).

The RRFDC also is bringing in Melissa Schenk to lead a session, “How Social Media Can Help You Achieve Your Goals,” tomorrow (Dec. 1) from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at La Place Rendez-Vous.

It is aimed at business owners, sales consultants, managers, and non-profit groups to get a fundamental understanding of social media, with admission being $20.

In related news, Information Technology consultant Darryl Allan gave a presentation Monday evening about the town’s revamped website at www.fort-frances.com

The site, which was launched in its new form Nov. 10, was re-designed by the Times’ Web Design team not only to be more user-friendly, but to tie in with current branding the town has adopted in recent years.

Allan said the town looked at re-designing the website after input from staff and the public that the website was looking dated, cluttered, and it wasn’t as easy as it could be—and should be—to find information.

One improvement is the front page of the site now features “megamenus.” A user just has to place a cursor over the various links at the top, such as “departments,” “town government,” and “residents,” and “megamenus” pop up listing the contents of the respective page to which the link will take you.

For example, under “town government” is “council business,” “employment opportunities,” “open tenders,” and “customer complaint forms.”

The site also provides everything from contact information for town staff, as well as mayor and council, to maps showing snow removal routes (just click on “Departments,” then “Public Works,” then “GIS maps”).

In keeping up with accessibility standards, the new site also allows users to increase the font size of text, making it easier to read.

Fort Frances Clerk Glenn Treftlin, meanwhile, spoke about the implementation of a web-based service called iCompass Meeting Management Solution.

In simplest terms, this service allows for the electronic preparation and distribution of agendas and similar materials, both for council and administrative use as well as for public access.

For example, when Treftlin and administrative staff are preparing a council agenda on the Thursday before a Monday meeting, the agenda is published on a FilePro site on the Internet.

The public can access council agendas and meeting minutes by clicking on the “council business” button on the front page of the town’s website.

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