From the moment you begin campaigning, it is likely that people will contact you by phone, text, e-mail or Social Media.
When you receive genuine enquiries – no matter who they are from, you should always respond.
If you cannot answer a question or provide the information that the person is seeking immediately, respond and let them know what you intend to do.
DON’T promise to respond by a certain date or time if speaking or obtaining information from other people is involved.
DON’T commit to delivering an outcome or to doing anything where you have no control over the results.
If you have said you will get back in touch with someone, make sure that you do.
If you cannot help someone, be honest and tell them why. If possible, signpost or introduce them to someone who can.
People will be very understanding when you communicate openly and are honest with them. However, they will soon lose patience and may even be happy to tell others how they feel they have been wronged if you don’t.
If any direct messages you receive are rude, threatening or clearly political in nature, there is no need to respond and you may be best advised not to do so.
If you feel threatened, you should report this to an appropriate authority.
Responding to proper questions or comments on Social Media can be difficult when there is an audience involved. If you receive an open message which other people can see, but involves providing a response which would be inappropriate for others to read – for instance if it involves contact details, names of others or private information, you should respond only by asking the person contacting you to get in touch in a direct or private way. You can then deal with the matter with due regard to privacy etc.
Unless you are very confident using Social Media, it is advisable to not get into any form of debate with anyone. There are many users of these platforms who deliberately attempt to ‘bait’ other users and draw them into making comments which could be embarrassing or used to paint others in a negative light. Avoid them and what they are doing whenever and wherever possible!