Interview: Mallie Hart From Social Solutions Collective

The other day I had the pleasure of interviewing Mallie Hart about her new project Social Solutions Collective.

“When you work with a collective that can provide you with everything from unique graphics to ghost writing for your blog, your social media marketing isn’t just covered, it ROCKS!” -Social Solutions Collective

1. What is Social Solutions Collective and why did you start it?

Before I was invited to write for Steamfeed I was contemplating creating a collaborative group of my own. Knowing that a variety of content, discussion topics and ideas collectively drive true social engagement, it seemed silly not to build a group to make the curation and creation of this content and discussion something bigger and better. With that in mind I started sending out feelers, to gauge interest and to see if anyone else thought it was a good idea. I would not have continued with the project if I had received “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING” responses. I got some great initial feedback, cautionary and positive, from Robert Caruso and Kittie Walker – both Steamfeed members – and then from parties of interest and I decided it was something I wanted to take to the next level.

2. How did you decide who would be a part of the collective?

Great question. First I had to decide how we’d divvy up topic areas. I felt we should have one person covering a specific topic so that we could build a deeper understanding and delve deeper into specific social business topics. So, each member covers a niche. For example, with my long time spent in the graphic design trenches, it seemed quite fitting that my niche cover social design. Current members fill a wide variety of niches, anything from content curation to best practices for non-profits utilizing social media. The niches drive who gets asked to join the group. As the “owner” of the collective, I have the final say on who fills a niche, but all potential new collective members are discussed by the group before we even let them know we are interested in them. While someone has to take that final ownership role, we do try to make decisions in a collaborative and collective fashion.

3. What goals does the SSC have?

Our overriding goal, and, in fact, our tagline is “Social media and social business solutions collective intent on doing social right.” To take it a bit further, much like the crew at Steamfeed, we have seen and been disturbed by the shift and focus in social media toward a certain group of “experts” that don’t appear to walk the talk when it comes to engaging in the behaviors and actions that make social such a valuable part of business marketing and interaction. While we have no intent to point the finger at any one individual or action as “wrongdoing”, we do like to discuss what we call “less than social” practices and actions. We discuss them in a general sense, rather then throwing any individual or company under the bus. It’s equal parts education and entertainment, so I guess you could call us edutainers, though I don’t know if Grandma Mary has taken legal action to make term solely her own!

That being said, the second name in our title is “Solutions” and we have lofty goals for products, services and eLearning opportunities in 2013 and beyond. We think this blurb from our web site explains it quite well:

“While we all run our own businesses, some of us more than one, we understand that in the fast-paced, ever changing world of social media you don’t want to work with a jack of all trades, master of none. Sure, each member of our collective excels in a multitude of social situations. But, we also know we all have our “best” skills. By coming together, each of us with a different “best skill”, we can each offer real solutions that can be rolled up into one rocking package.”

4. Is the SSC a girl’s club only?

Ha ha! While it has turned out that way, that wasn’t our initial intent. If you ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you I’m not particularly interested in the “Go GIRL Power” movement. Initial salvos regarding interest in the collective were sent to an equal number of men and women. For whatever reasons, none of the men gelled or made the connection that makes our group really click. As we continued to move forward we found that our style of communication and decision making appealed to most of the women, but fewer to the men. So, it sort of turned into a group of women with the intent to discuss and share ideas in our bid to showcase social done right. Our following, which is growing in a slow and steady fashion, is a very nice mixture of men and women. We have some growth goals and plans for 2013 which we hope will continue to appeal to a wide audience. We also have an interview series planned (so it’s quite funny I’m your first interview), and we have as many males on our want list as we do females, perhaps more!

5. Is there anything else you would like the SteamFeed community to know about the SSC?

I put this question to the group members, as their opinions – both collectively and individually – matter very much. We support and help each other, as well as our fans and followers, by sharing knowledge, tools, tips and more, and by answering questions posed by the group and by those same fans and followers. Though we do work together as a collective, we each have our own unique ideas and voice, which allows us to look at every angle before we answer a question, allowing for understanding of the gray areas that are so much a part of social business. We realize there are no tried and true, this is black and this is white, solutions or answers that fit every unique social question or issue. We are a diverse group, though we are all women. We are young and not so young. Some members are new to the entrepreneur scene while others are more seasoned. We span the United States and even have a voice from Canada. So we bring unique perspective to each niche, to each question we are asked and to each idea we generate. Then we collectively turn our unique ideas and understanding into a supportive and savvy group effort or answer.

Want to learn more about the Social Solutions Collective?

Linkedin Group Discussion: SSC LinkedIn Group Discussion