Visconti is founded in Florence, Italy, in 1988 by two friends who had a common passion for pens. The company is specialized in the production of fine and luxury fountain pens, rollers, and ball-pens, as well as watches. Visconti’s fundamental values are “Italian Design & Creativity, Craftsmanship, Quality, Luxury” (Visconti, 2017, para. 4). As a niche brand, Visconti targets a very specialized consumer group who puts quality and uniqueness above the price.
Social Media Use
It is possible to say that Visconti primarily focuses on three areas of social media marketing: social media care, as well as social media PR and advertising. Currently, Visconti is present at multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube. The brand’s social technographic profile is Creator. It means Visconti is at the top of the social technographic ladder. It belongs to a group of online consumers “who at least once a month publish a blog or article online, maintain a Web page, or upload videos or audio to sites like YouTube” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 43).
Visconti on Facebook
The brand’s page on Facebook is by far the most well developed than pages on other social media. It has a total number of 60.456 subscribers and, throughout the time of its existence, it has gained 60.408 likes. The company posts new visual and informative content at least every second day, and followers share it with others: The minimal repost rate is 4. Moreover, Visconti is frequently mentioned in the post by its partners (luxury brokers, stores, et cetera) and grateful customers, which helps promote brand awareness.
Visconti on Instagram
Visconti’s Instagram page is the second most developed and active. By now, it consists of 220 publications and has 7.278 followers. In turn, the company is subscribed to 62 pages focused on pen collection and luxury watches, as well as art and exhibitions. The list of subscriptions includes such major Visconti’s rivals as Rolex and Panerai. It is possible to presume that the information derived from those pages helps the company analyze the market and draw inspiration for its marketing messages.
The brand’s Instagram content replicates the one posted on Facebook but, considering the smaller number of Visconti’s subscribers on Instagram, it is liked less. It signifies that the company is not as successful in self-promotion at the given platform.
Visconti on Twitter
On Twitter, the brand uses a slightly different approach to social media marketing. Besides creating new content, it also curates the information posted about Visconti by others. In other words, the company draws together the information from other sources and sifts it in a way that it becomes accessible to visitors with same interests. Content curation can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to the brand’s site as it is meant to increase engagement with social media influencers and stimulate user activity (Poore, 2014).
However, Visconti’s Twitter page does not draw that much attention. It has an audience of just 231 readers. The problem may have its roots in the marketing strategy the brand used before ̶ it simply replicated the information posted on its other pages. It is worth noticing that when Visconti started to re-tweet and to share useful links to information written by other users, the activity on its Twitter page (re-tweeting rate, in particular) has slightly increased. Another problem with the brand’s Twitter use is the irregularity of posting. The last tweet was made on May 7.
Visconti on YouTube
The brand has a YouTube channel, yet it is the least developed among its other pages on social media.
There, it uploads short videos about the production process and demonstration of different models of pens and watches. By now, their total number is 10, and the number of subscribers is 51. The maximum rate of views per video is 613, while the maximum rate of likes is 6.
It is worth noticing that Visconti pen reviews by some video bloggers on YouTube receive positive responses, and viewers express their appreciation of the brand in comments to those videos. Thus, it is possible to conclude that along with the irregularity of posting, possible barriers faced by Visconti in getting better results on its YouTube channel may be related to the irrelevance of the content to the target audience’s interests. It may be needed to make videos more informative, creative, and visually appealing.
Summary of Competencies and Deficiencies
Overall, Visconti does well in social media marketing on Facebook. It managed to build a large audience there and engage followers in distribution and valuation of the content. It can signify that the brand’s Facebook posts meet the needs and interests of the target audience ̶ they are visually arresting and informative. Moreover, they fit well within the format of the social media platform.
Nevertheless, there are many noticeable deficiencies in the brand’s social media use as well. First of all, Visconti does not communicate with followers actively and rarely responds to their questions and comments. Secondly, the content across the platforms lacks differentiation. Thus, there is no need for social media users to follow the brand anywhere else than Facebook because the main information is regularly provided there. Lastly, the company fails to build larger audiences at Twitter and YouTube probably because the content posted there does not meet the formats of those channels and is not attractive to potential followers.
Tapping in Social Media
According to Li and Bernoff (2011), groundswell is “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions” (p. 9). It is possible to regard groundswell as an integral part of the integrated marketing communications paradigm, which is associated with an interactive model of communication with consumers, as well as greater synergy between such marketing activities as advertising and product design. In the given context, Visconti needs to reveal the personality of the brand more and engage in active communication with social media followers to avoid forming a depersonalized image of a large company and promote more positive perceptions of the brand.
Improvements for Facebook and Instagram: Embracing Tactics
Although Visconti uses the tactics of talking well, it needs to implement some listening practices as well. For instance, it can be recommended to like and respond to followers’ comments and questions more consistently to make them feel more valued.
It is also possible to encourage followers to provide feedback by using interactive questionnaires in the Instagram story feature or simply by asking them to respond to particular posted questions in comments on Facebook. It will help consumers feel engaged in the product production process, which can improve the perception of the brand. Moreover, a better understanding of consumer interests through the analysis of feedback can help Visconti develop more demanded items.
Energizing Followers on Instagram and Facebook
Energizing is “finding enthusiast customers and turning them into word-of-mouth machines” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 130). There is a big community of people who are passionate about fountain pens and who collect them for different purposes: art, writing, development of personal style, et cetera. There are a few ways Visconti can encourage them to share information about the brand. Firstly, the company can launch promotional giveaway campaigns, implying that any person who would re-post would also obtain a chance to get a product for free. It will help boost social media activity and create buzz around the brand.
Secondly, it is possible to encourage followers to participate in the creation of customized social media content for Visconti by offering them a chance to be featured on the brand’s page. The given practise is common on Instagram. It can help solve the problem with limited content differentiation and increase users’ engagement. To achieve this, Visconti needs to explain the contest requirements and quality expectations in a post and note a particular hashtag (for instance, #myvisconti) that would be used for locating the created content. The success of the initiative will be measured by evaluating the number of newly published brand-related content by other users, as well as by detecting an increasing rate of activity and new followers.
Improvements in the Use of YouTube and Twitter
Considering that content curation on Twitter resulted in some positive changes regarding user activity on Visconti’s page, it can be recommended to implement the given tactics further. It is noticeable that tweets with visuals receive a better response. Thus, the brand needs to pay greater attention to the aesthetic side of the messages as well.
As for YouTube, the brand can implement the supporting tactics to develop the channel. It is not enough to merely post the advertising and selling videos. Instead, it can be recommended to create the content aimed to educate potential consumers about the fountain pen culture. For example, it is possible to record calligraphy tutorials or informative videos about the nuances of fountain pen care and technical information, such as the differences and advantages of various pen filling systems. Not only will it stimulate the user activity and expand the audience of Visconti channel but also will help attract new customers and create extra brand values.
In the context of growing market saturation, the primary way to make customers repeat purchases and to develop their loyalty is the individualization of relationships and development of long-term interactions. Social media are of tremendous help in this regard.
The regular and efficient use of Facebook, one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, for the creation of original brand-related content is a significant advantage of Visconti. However, to improve the relationships with consumers, the company should use it, as well as other social media channels, not just for the promotion of new and existing products but for the active engagement of the audience in the interaction with the brand.
The suggested plan can help Visconti cover such groundswell areas as embracing, energizing, and supporting. It will allow the brand to enhance the statistical indices related to user activity and expand the audience across the platforms.
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell, expanded and revised edition: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
Poore, M. (2014). Studying and researching with social media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Visconti. (2017). Pens: Since 1988. Web.