‘This is an opportunity to be bold’: Tiff Ng on the transformation the industry needs

Tiff Ng

“Every media professional and the industry as a whole needs to recognise the power that they hold.”

Tiff Ng, founder of The Social Story, has told Mediaweek that media professionals need to do more than just pay lip service to important issues, particularly when communicating stories about impact.

Ng took home the win for Changemaker at Mediaweek‘s 2024 Next of the Best Awards.

Mediaweek caught up with Ng to speak about what necessary transformation she thinks the industry needs to go through, what is exciting her about social media right now and pushing for greater ethics in daily practices.

The awards have been judged by an all-star line-up, what does it mean to you to be recognised by this group?

Getting this recognition from such an esteemed jury feels like the industry is acknowledging its hunger for change.

When I left the corporate world seven years ago to start my own company, I was determined to create spaces for women of colour like myself who wanted to find greater purpose in the work that they do. I’ve spent the years predominantly in the social enterprise and remote work spaces talking to other like-minded people about their frustrations with marketing and what we need to do to change this.

The Social Story is a culmination of these learnings, with a core goal of developing ethical storytelling standards that can be used across our whole industry. But it has often felt like the change needed was so much bigger than what I was capable of alone.

To be acknowledged by the top tier of the media industry, it feels like the principles I stand for are validated. It gives me great belief that we, as an industry, can achieve a more inclusive, diverse and purpose-driven environment. And I couldn’t ask for more than that!

What necessary transformation do you think the industry needs to go through?

Every media professional and the industry as a whole needs to recognise the power that they hold. We not only reflect the world as it is, but we also create the aspiration of where we believe it should go. No one should take that responsibility lightly.

Particularly when communicating stories about impact, we need to do more than simply pay lip service to important issues. This is an opportunity to be bold, make the organisational changes required to authentically champion sustainability and inclusivity and communicate this impact in ways that can positively affect our audiences.

That means responsible reporting, pushing for greater ethics in our daily practices and prioritising the needs of every media professional so they feel empowered to show up authentically through their work.

What do you think the future looks like for social media in the industry?

We need to change the way we look at success on social to future-proof against regulatory changes to the social landscape. Changes such as TikTok bans to Facebook changing access to news content will have flow-on effects to the way we conduct ourselves as social media professionals. Also, with the incoming greenwashing laws in Australia and abroad, there will be greater scrutiny of the type of content we share. But that should not be feared if we’re doing it right.

Authenticity, good storytelling and a commitment to ethical practices can always carry us through such changes. And in the battle for eyeballs, building lasting relationships with your audience will be ever more important. That means a greater focus on organic engagement and how to create content that audiences want to hear and share. That means bringing forth human stories – whether that be with diverse UGC creators or showing up as business owners on social. It also means showcasing the values of a business to the growing number of consumers who want to buy from brands that share their own.

Prioritising relationships over vanity metrics – like follower counts – and ensuring that social is just a tool to inspire further action offline. When we all recognise the role that social plays in building these relationships and have the right tools to understand how to maximise success, that’s when we can future-proof against any further changes in regulation.

What excites you about social media in the industry right now?

In many ways, social media has democratised the content we consume and create. We are already seeing more diverse narratives and self-determined creators who are able to share their authentic stories on these platforms. Organisations like Missing Perspectives have done a particularly good job at challenging media narratives and amplifying voices we don’t usually hear in global news.

I want to see more individuals empowered to tell their stories in responsible ways through social. Whether it’s larger brands elevating their voices or tech companies recognising the importance of such creators, the more diverse the media is on the platform, the better.

Being Next of The Best – What can the industry expect next from you?

This is just the first chapter for us at The Social Story. This recognition has only fuelled us to continue making change for our social enterprise community and the media industry.

We’re working with our partners and community organisations to bolster our standards of ethical storytelling. We’ll continue to co-author with our clients great narratives and effective social content to take their brands closer to their audience. And I invite you to join us.

My hope is that these standards can be rolled out across the industry so that every social media professional is considering how each piece of content is sustainable, accessible, diverse and contributes positively to the wider conversation.

Top image: Tiff Ng

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