How to tell the difference between Quirky and TMI

Often we are afraid to share our quirks out in the world, especially right after we begin to discover them.

“Why would anyone have any interest in learning this about me?”

“What the heck does this even have to do with my brand?”

“Why are people always talking about what they are having for lunch on twitter?”

I get questions like this all the time, and people’s fears about sharing who they really are online range from fear about sharing details about their family and loved ones to hesitation about even posting a picture of themselves in their marketing materials.

If you’re feeling confused and scared about getting more personal with your target market online, you are not alone. Most people fear that anything they share is TMI (too much information) and that they will end up embarassed by putting a quirky or unusual detail into the public eye.

In order to make this feel a bit safer, I’ve put together a list of questions I like to ask myself before posting content online…you may want to review these questions when you put posts up on twitter, facebook, or elsewhere for the next week to help get your internal compass calibrated toward useful quirk only…

  1. What is your desired outcome from this post? (to inspire people, appear more human, show empathy and the ability to relate to your clients, share valuable info, add humor)
  2. Who is your target market/my followers, and how are they likely to take this post? (remember, YOU are not necessarily your target market. Something that feels like TMI may be welcome to your readers and vice versa- try to see it from their perspective)
  3. How does this post fit with/conflict with your brand? (If your brand is fun, playful or zany, you can and should post silly things. If you are a corporat consultant, you might want to stick with more of the business formal personal details like loving the view at an event or a funny thing you’d feel comfortable sharing in the board room…)
  4. How do you feel in your gut when I think about putting this post up? (Sometimes something that goes against all the logic we have used in the first three questions just feels right, and sometimes it feels wrong even though all other clues say “go for it!” Trust your intuition- we often know more than we think we do…)

You’ll have your own journey with this process, and as many online professionals have learned, your clients and customers are much more interested in getting to know you than you realized. Start out slow with something small and quirky, like a new flavor of tea you’re trying, or a fun outing you took over the weekend and see how it goes. Then apply the questions from above and build from there…

Make sure to share your results in the comments on the blog or post them on the facebook page!