Today has been an interesting day in twitter to say the least, with a few lessons that might be worth taking note of. You can draw your own conclusions.
I got a few messages this morning asking for my opinion on a Facebook page that was raising a few eyebrows. The page was set up on July 2′nd by David Montague, who I believed was responsible for the Regional Directors of the Institute Of Recruiters. I was very aware of Montague because he had repeatedly sent me messages on LinkedIn about the IOR on what seemed to be a daily basis. The page is named “The Recruitment & Employers Confederation.” This was something of a surprise because the R.E,C. are the leading member organisation for recruiters in the UK. The page had been set up by Montague and contained mostly links to posts on the I.O.R. blog, as does his own blog under the name Montague Consulting.You can see the page for yourself at Recruitment & Employment Confederation on Facebook.

When you see a page named in this way, you would probably think that this was the fan page for “The Recruitment & Employers Confederation.” It isn’t!  I  believed this to be a page from the IOR because one of Montague’s two Facebook accounts reads:

  • “I am the Head of Regional Directors for the Institute Of Recruiters (#IOR).IOR is the professional body for HR, Agency & In-House recruiters. The IOR represents professionals working in the recruitment and retention process that fall into the areas of agency recruitment, corporate (in-house) recruitment and HR. As a professional body, IOR Membership levels are select, based on assessed and qualified standards.The IOR is working towards being an industry leader in services and information, leveraging our performance driven culture to deliver value to members. The IOR and its talented teams will work hard to:• Provide services which rivals cannot match.
    • Provide University backed CPD and Education that is internationally recognised
    • Lower the cost of professional body membership.
    • Ensure IOR membership is considered ‘essential’ by recruitment and HR professionals.
    • Support our members via constant service development and innovation.
    • Connect members both nationally and”
    Whilst the dates on the account show this post was held between May 2011 and May 2012. Being written in present tense, the indication is that this was a current post, and as I had blocked Montague’s accounts to stop the spam, I had no reason to think anything different.
    When I looked at the page, I sent out the following tweet and Facebook update:

    The response from @IOR Director Dave Barber was:

    Now I can understand why the I.O.R would be concerned to see themselves linked with the page, given that Montague is no longer employed by the I.O.R. I’m happy to state that the Facebook page is nothing to do with them, and Montague is a former employee. I would have been happy to do this if they had contacted me before the legal threat. I’m sure they would have seen the point I was making had they clicked on the link before firing off the threat of legal action.

    Montague is clearly well thought of by the IOR. He was a Director for over a year, and his Linked In profile contains the following references:

    “David and I first started talking during the final launch preparations of the IOR. David eventually became a valued Regional Director and from the off, committed to raising the profile of the IOR in an adept and professional manner. David is very well-connected and true to his word. He has never promised anything that he could not deliver on. His use of social media as a marketing/sales and general business tool is admirable and he has been instrumental in ‘getting the message out’ for my organisation.
    Personally, he is very likeable and I would not hesitate in offering my highest recommendation for David.” June 21, 2011

    2nd Dave Barber.Director of Member Services, IOR | Institute of Recruiters
    managed David indirectly at IOR | Institute of Recruiters”

    “David is a very dedicated and capable individual who is a pleasure to work with. He is methodical, conscientious, dedicated and makes it his business keep up to date and involved in all areas that affect him.

    “I am very pleased to be working with David at the IOR where he is a valued member of the team.” August 3, 2011

    1st Azmat MohammedDirector ICT & Operations, IOR | Institute of Recruiters
    managed David indirectly at IOR | Institute of Recruiters”

    I don’t know David Montague personally. I’m not impressed with the practice of setting up Facebook pages in the names of other organisations because this will be misleading for people looking for information on the real Recruitment & Employers Confederation, particularly given that they have no Facebook page.

    The I.O.R. have made great efforts to improve the way they communicate on social media, and the industry perception of them as an organisation after a rocky start. My advice to them is to think about how they manage critical comments. My reaction to this would have been to try to enter in to dialogue to understand why the page was being linked to the IOR, and put their case forward in this case. Blanket threats tend to provoke a fight rather than constructive conversation, even when you are right. This also raises the importance of social media monitoring to see where your images, logos, content and name are being mentioned. All organisations need to be able to take emotion out of an argument and make their case through conversation. It is also worth noting that LinkedIn recommendations stay around as long as you leave them up. If you change that opinion it is worth taking them down. I would also have considered making a statement on their own site to point out that they are in no way associated with this Facebook page although it contains links to their content and images. This would create distance and clarity, and be a clear reference point should anyone raise the question.

    It is clear that this page is nothing to do with the I.O.R, and that David Montague is no longer an employee, but I don’t think their fight is with the messenger.