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Social Branding Panel: Experts Share Six Ways to Grow Your Brand

By Dan Denning

On Thursday, April 13th, Cheryl Brody Franklin, Director of Newhouse NYC, held a Social Branding Panel that featured four Newhouse alumni who are successful entrepreneurs and social media experts:

social branding panelists


Ali Maffucci (top left): Inspiralized

Violet Gaynor (top right): The Glow

Scott Wiener (bottom left): Scott’s Pizza Tours

Katie Sturino (bottom right): The 12ish Style

Before the actual panel, there was time for Newhouse NYC students to meet the panelists and other Newhouse alumni to meet current NYC students. Eating food and chatting with alumni was a great way to network. There were graduates working at all kinds of companies, varying from People magazine to Scholastic to Google. Each one was very friendly and wasn’t shy to share what their job was about and what advice they have to the current juniors and seniors.

After about a half hour of chatting, it was time for the Social Branding Panel to begin. The four speakers answered a variety of questions from Newhouse NYC students, and then took questions from the audience. There were a lot of tips that were shared, but here are the top six that we learned about social branding, and starting your own company:

panel speakers.png

  1. Get experience: Before you go out and start a business, it is important that you have experience in the kind of work you want to do. “Don’t do something for the heck of it,” said Katie Sturino of The 12ish, a style brand for size 12ish-18 girls living in a size 2 world ( Once you learn all about the industry, you will better understand the niche markets that need to be filled so you can take advantage of them. 
  2. Love what you do: When working at a job, you do better when you love what you do. “Get into it; get obsessed,” said Scott Wiener of Scott’s Pizza Tours, a company that takes people to places all around New York City to try the best pizzas ( When you are into your job, you put in the best work and rise the ranks much faster. Running a business is hard, and it’s not something that goes away past the hours of 9 to 5 like a normal job. “Only do something you’re super passionate about” said Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized, the ultimate resource for cooking healthy foods using a spiralizer ( If it’s not something you want to be doing and thinking about all the time, it probably isn’t for you.
  3. Infuse yourself into your content: Social media is filled with clutter, especially when it comes to products. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself in your content; share your story,” Inspiralized’s Ali Maffucci said. By putting yourself into all your content, you automatically make it unique. “It helps you connect to your audience,” said Violet Gaynor of The Glow, a blog that shares a glimpse into the world of inspiring and fashionable moms ( People will get to know you better, and will be more invested into your personal brand.
  4. Understand your audience: It’s so important to know exactly who you are targeting to grow your social presence. Once you have fans, it is even more important because you’ll have people giving you direct feedback on your content. Read comments and listen to what followers and purchasers are saying. This is the best way to give them what they want as well as to grow as a person and as a business. 
  5. Put different content on different platforms: When running a social media account for either social or business use, it is extremely important to avoid putting the same content on all of your social platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat all have different purposes, so there is no reason to post the same thing on more than one platform. “Vary your content and tailor it to the platform you are posting it on,” said Scott Wiener of Scott’s pizza tours. This is the best way to maximize the engagement you get on social media.
  6. Always set goals for the future: Before you start a business or before working on your social media brand, know exactly what you want to accomplish. It’s not only helpful, but also really fun. Each of the four panelists shared their plans for the future and they were all so excited about the direction they were headed in. Being excited about these goals means you work even harder to reach them. It is the best way to ensure that you remain successful over time.
Ali Maffucci signing.png

Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized signs one of her cookbooks for a fan.

It was such a great experience to learn from these amazing speakers. Luckily, BiB Media, a full-service media company in Brooklyn, helped us live-stream the whole thing on Facebook Live. You can still see the video here:

NYC Social Branding Panel

Thank you to all of the alumni who attended the panel and to the four speakers who were willing to share so much advice!


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