Tiff Ng is the founder and chief storyteller of The Social Story. She was born to two immigrant parents from Hong Kong who have been passionate supporters of small business through their own work throughout the years. But as a good immigrant child, she was pushed towards a career of safety and repute. Tiff has always thought that she would follow in that pathway, particularly when she started out in her career in advertising in agencyland. But the journey that has brought her to The Social Story is undoubtedly a testament to the lessons her parents have taught her in carving out a role for herself in this world.
Tiff’s business is an amalgamation of all the values instilled within her since birth – social justice, purpose and goodness. The Social Story Co is a registered social enterprise serving purpose-driven brands to help them maximise their impact. Tiff and her team do that themselves by giving their time and donations towards causes that matter most to the whole team.
They have created an approach to social media content that is rooted in storytelling and doesn’t create content for content’s sake but moves the conversation for social impact further. Tiff and her team are proud to put people and impact first in everything that they do as a business.
What issue are you looking to solve with your business? What is your WHY?
Social has a great opportunity to democratise the space where we can tell stories. We’ve seen it with movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter where we were able to hear intersectional narrative that weren’t heard before. My WHY is to empower people to harness the power of social media to tell their own stories and amplify the ripples that they create as an impact-driven organisation.
I believe in the power of both stories and social media to create a more empathetic world. From my childhood of writing out stories in paper books stapled together by my mother to my career through corporate advertising agencies, I know that the time is now to not only have all businesses recognise the integral part positive impact needs to play but also the need to communicate that properly. My ambition is to be the go-to social media agency that can help make that happen.
Social media has always been seen more as detracting from our day-to-day lives rather than enhancing it, what’s your perspective on this?
In a lot of ways, I agree. The onslaught of information and content that we see from social can be overwhelming.
But it is about working with intention. When we take the moment to question why we are using social and what we are putting out there, we can understand the opportunity we have to create positive conversations and share our story through social.
I consistently advocate for taking time off of social and practice it often myself – yes, even as a social media professional. But understanding what potential it holds and how we can use it for good is what empowers me to keep going every day. I love the stories that we are able to tell for our clients and it’s made me more discerning of what I’m willing to share on my personal channels and why.
I often say – you don’t love your dad any less if you don’t post about him on father’s day. And in many ways that encompasses my view on how we should approach social. There are many ways to share positive stories on there – but we don’t have to. Understand your own why to using social and create boundaries around that.
You were shortlisted last year for B&T’s 30 Under 30 ‘Entrepreneur’ award and was made Honouree on the AA122 (Asian Australian) List. Have these accolades changed the way you approach business and see yourself as a WoC Founder?
It’s a strange one for sure. Particularly with the B&T awards, when I left corporate, I thought I also left those markers of success behind as well. I didn’t want to create advertising campaigns purely for the coveted Cannes awards. But when these opportunities came about, I realise that I still held onto a desire to be recognised within my industry but also, the importance of taking up these spaces as a female leader of colour.
This was not a narrative I thought was possible for myself nor had I seen anyone else who looked like me in this space before. I was used to being the only Asian in the room and had often prided myself on the moments when people hadn’t seen my race and just saw my merit. But there is something to be said about having both – that I am able to stand on both my successes and also that not many Australian Asian women are in the same space with me.
The past few years have allowed Asians to enter the conversation in much bigger ways with both the representation we’re starting to see, but also in the hatred and violence it experienced over the past two years.
We are not a silent or model minority. We are a group of people that need to be heard for our stories and unique perspectives to help move our society forward to better things.
I am fortunate to now have the platform and confidence to share my story. But it won’t be anything unless more Asian Australians and other people of colour are able to feel safe and able to share their unique stories as well. I want to ensure that my business honours that and creates a platform for not only me but other people like me can continue to share their stories even if they cannot usually access these platforms.
Can you please share more about what your work with B1G1?
When I started my business, I knew that I wanted to ensure that it was a business for good. The first step was to be able to donate a part of our profits towards causes I cared about. It started with a partnership with One Girl that empower girls education in Sierra Leone. We then moved towards B1G1 that integrated that financial impact even further by linking our business activities towards good causes.
This partnership allows us to quantify every workshop we deliver and free workbook that is downloaded to contribute to a wider impact that also extends that education to communities that need it. I’m really excited that this can help us track and illustrate our impact as a business as we continue to forge forward as a social media agency that works differently and puts impact at the forefront of what we do.
If you could write a letter to your future self, what would are some of the main things you would say?
How are you doing? You hanging in there?
I’d like to think I’m still proud of you and you haven’t sold your soul to the devil. Though our journey to this point in 2023 would suggest that there’s little chance of impact and doing good not being entwined with your life.
No matter what you’ve done since the last time we spoke, I’m sure it’s been an interesting story. I hope that you’ve continued to grow and recognise how much of everything that you have experienced – both good and bad – is a part of you now and can be celebrated and can provide lessons to keep you going. I hope you continue to prioritise yourself and your self care in no matter what sort of impact you’ve created.
Remember that the most important thing is to make a difference in your sphere of influence – no matter how big or small it grows. I’m really proud that you stuck it out – even if the business fails or you lost a ton of money or whatever trail or tribulation that came your way. I know that you could handle it because you have already in this lifetime.
With love and kindness,
Tiff from 2023.
Ps. did your plants survive? And do we have those awesome microwave meals from Spy Kids yet?
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