5 Ways to Avoid TMI When Building Your Brand

March 22, 2016

4:27 pm

We’ve all been there…that time when someone familiar to us has a “too much information” (TMI) moment and it becomes awkward. Experts say that TMI could also happen online when building one’s brand.

According to a 2015 Domain.ME survey conducted by Wakefield Research, “42 percent of Americans surveyed actually have changed their opinion about someone based on content they saw about them online – including 57 percent of Millennials.”

While the first inkling for novices is to start putting information out there, everywhere, branding experts suggest to stop, use an internal filter, and consider the type of content to associate with your brand.

Don’t Unpack Your Suitcase All at Once

Mark de la Viña, partner at Consort Partners, uses the analogy of suitcase and the number of outfits that express your personality to the type of information a person shares on the internet.

“Every company has strengths, assets and characteristics in their suitcase. When it comes to their brand and opening that suitcase, they have to decide what outfit are they going to break out and show the world. There could be many options – such as your flip flops and tank top to a double knit sweater – but it’s what you want to put out there that tells your story,” de la Viña said.

Stop Taking Up Space

On your blog, website or social media, experts say to stop putting information out there for the sake of taking up space in the internet, especially when it’s inconsistent with your brand.

“Making stuff up to fill space is not consistent with what you are trying to put out there and it doesn’t show your human side,” de la Viña said.

The hard reality is that not all content is good content.

At a recent speaking engagement, personal branding expert Gary Vaynerchuk said he receives weekly emails from people who say they’ve been putting out content for years and still have no traction. His response to those inquiries…

“I built a brand around providing value to people. Just because you think it’s good content, the market [might] think you’re a doof,” Vaynerchuk said.

Back Up What You Say

There is strategy on how much information you reveal, and to whom, said Renee Moore, founder of SpaFly and 20 year public relations veteran. Depending on the venue or social media platform, you’ll have to gauge how much and what kind of content would be appropriate.

“The amount of information you reveal depends on your audience,” Moore said.

She also cautioned not to talk a big game unless you can back it up.

“You might have big dreams and plans about your brand and what you can do. However, you have to be able to handle the load, have any staffing needs in place, and deliver. If not, you’re going to lose customers, support, and credibility before you have a chance to prove yourself,” Moore said.

As you are building your brand and generating content, Moore said to use the “Keep It Simple Stupid” (KISS) model.

“When you are engaging with others online, you have to keep it simple until you can fully support what you say,” Moore said.

Lose the Snarky Comments

How you go about getting attention could determine your online reputation and it’s important to be conscious of your audience.

“I’ve seen people use a snarky or negative approach, or going off on people to get attention, [however] that begins to build their reputation [in a way] they may not have wanted. If that’s your style and persona…just consider your potential audience,” Arnie Kuenn, founder and CEO Vertical Measures, said.

Andrew Bart, startup advisor and growth consultant, said that speaking poorly about a company or former client could come back to bite you with future employers or customers.

“If you are a representative of a company and associate yourself with a company, never say anything bad about the company or do anything that will burn bridges. There are forums and complaint-related sites for that information –but there’s no reason to go negative,” Bart said.

Find the Sweet Spot

There will always be that balance between too much or little information to share with your audience. As your business begins to flourish, Kuenn said it’s important to ensure that your personal brand doesn’t begin to dominate the company brand.

“Sometimes you might have to pull back from the personal branding so that the business becomes the primary brand rather than my brand,” Kuenn said.

When you are planning out content on your personal website, the same .ME survey shows that featuring “professional work-related achievements, awards or honors and volunteer activity has a positive impact on someone’s online reputation or brand.

Experts agree that regardless of the volume of information you put out, it’s important to be consistent, authentic and helpful.

“Be selective and strategic in what you share. If you have snapshots of who you are and a human side to your information, it’s worth including – but you don’t have to put everything you do out there,” de la Viña said.

This article was brought to you in partnership with .ME, the premium top-level domain for professionals focused on building their online reputation. Check out the rest of the series here.

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.