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The Ray Charles Guide to Vamping Up Your Social Media Soul

by David Masters · 1 comment

When blues musician Ray Charles died in 2004, the New York Times claimed he brought “the essence of soul” to everything he touched. Charles, who was struck blind as a child and who learned to read music by braille, fused gospel, blues and jazz to create soul music.

“What is a soul? It’s like electricity – we don’t really know what it is, but it’s a force that can light a room.” ~ Ray Charles

Soul is essense, the essence of who we are and what we believe about ourselves. Soul is intensity and energy. Soul is who we are when we are our truest selves. Soul is the inner child, the dove of peace within. In religious mystical traditions, souls are sparks of light.

What if you could bring this spark, this force that can light a room, to your marketing?

Marketing with soul draws people to you because they want what you have.

Swaying to the Soul’s Rhythm in Your Social Media Marketing

Start With Who You Are

“I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me-like food or water.” ~ Ray Charles

Bringing soul to your marketing starts with knowing who you are, what you want, and why you do what you do. When you discover that, you discover your spark and energy, and soul flows out of everything you do.

This applies just as much to to the Fortune 500 as to bootstrappers. Corporations have a soul too, it just often gets buried or ignored.

As marketing consultant Michael Port writes in Book Yourself Solid:

“If you are not passionate about what you’re doing, if your heart isn’t in it, if it doesn’t have meaning to you, you are not going to devote the time and energy required to be successful, then you’ll never, in a million years, be able to convince people in your target market that you’re the best person to help them.”

So, what’s stopping you? Get started today! Here’s a couple of pointers to nudge you in the right direction.

If you’re a company with board and employees, rework your vision and mission and statements until you can say “yes, that’s us, and that’s a GREAT reason to get up every morning”. To get you started, take a look at this video.

If you’re a freelancer, think about the clients that inspire and energise you. Why do you enjoy working with them? What do they bring out in you that you like about yourself? Start looking for more clients like this.

Be Vulnerable

“To be honest with you, I sing what I feel, what I genuinely feel. That’s it.” ~ Ray Charles

Social media marketing is a conversation. To bring soul to the conversation, you must bring your real self to the conversation, and that means being vulnerable.

I don’t mean you’ve got to reveal all your family secrets. But you do need to talk about yourself and your feelings. Give people a window into your real life. That engages them, and builds trust. Tell stories. Would you rather read my philosophy of caring and sharing, or the story of how I invited a homeless man with me to Burger King for lunch?

Marketing is often seen as schmoozing and icky. And it’s true, much marketing is based on fear, distrust and greed. But it doesn’t have to be.

When you market on social media, you get to know your customers. Listening to them, you discover their values, and what they really want.

But to get people to open up to you, to create that soul connection, you’ve got to open up to them, too.

Know Your Values

“You got some sugar and I don’t; I borrow some of yours. Next month you might not have any flour; well, I’ll give you some of mine.” ~ Ray Charles

Marketing with soul means having a deeper purpose than simply “attention” or “sales”. It means you invest your values into your work. You care about your bottom line, but you also care about people and the wider world.

Soulful marketing takes a holistic approach, where everything is interconnected. What you do and how you act reverberates across the word in ways unknown to you, and unseen by you. You resolve to act in ways, through all your business, that does good in the world. You’re creative rather than destructive.

Today, write a list of three of your most important values. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Friendship
  • Honesty
  • Creativity
  • Determination
  • Courage
  • Curiosity
  • Peace
  • Caring for others
  • Strength
  • Simplicity
  • Motivation

Over time, build your list to reflect your full range of soulful values. Bringing soul to your work is a journey of small steps towards authenticity, not an instant catch-all solution.

Be the Best

“I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great.” ~ Ray Charles

Being soulful means striving to be the best at what you do. You’re aiming to hit the top, and be the stand-out provider in your niche.

Don’t aim for fame. Truth is, unless you’re a global megabrand, you don’t need fame to be successful. Instead, aim to be good at what you do. If you’re a freelancer, study your craft. Listen to your customers. Develop your products based on their wants and needs. And add the twist of your own inspiration.

Attention for attention’s sake is an empty goal. Aim for greatness, and the people who need to hear about your work will hear about your work.

In Summary

“Soul is a way of life – but it’s always the hard way.” ~ Ray Charles

David Masters

David Masters is Social Caffeine’s lead writer, idea spinner and super-blogger. You’ll find his inky fingerprints all over the web at blogs from ProBlogger to Men with Pens to The Change Blog. He’s British, and he lives in Wales, but we don’t hold that against him.

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GnosticismVacuum August 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm

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