It’s over. After all that excitement, buzz, anticipation, antics on Sunday morning television, “flash mobs” in Valletta, Eurovision is over.
Yet, after months of tours, performances, and publicity, what does Malta have to show for it? Further, what does Kurt have to show for it?
I won’t pretend I’ve been watching Eurovision since I was a child; actually, this is just the second year for me. But when I think about Eurovision I see an opportunity to capture the global stage, not just for a couple of nights, but for a couple months. An opportunity to promote this beautiful country, its history and heritage, as well as its talented representative to the greater European audience. An opportunity to build relationships and nurture those relationships all twelve months of the year. And is this audience not your country’s biggest market? Tourists?
So while others may see last night’s event as a loss for Malta, I see it as a missed opportunity.
About two months ago we took an audit of the social media presence of all 42 participating countries. Last night we added post-show metrics and are now able to measure the growth of each performer leading up to the event. Unsurprisingly, Facebook was the most widespread channel being used to broadcast a country’s Eurovision story.
Loreen, Sweden’s representative and this year’s winner, was one of the few who used Facebook strategically to grow her reach, build buzz around her song, and engage her fans on a consistent basis. Not only did she grow her community by 20,000 in two months, but she connected with fans from across Europe through a strategic content campaign. The hashtag, #Loreen12P, was the center of all of her outreach across social, including the tag for her Instagram campaign where fans could upload a photo of themselves portraying the lyrics to her song in a creative way and be a part of her fan video.
Am I saying that Sweden won because of Facebook? No. Sweden won because her song rocked, and that’s how it should be. But did her social media push help? Without a doubt.
It’s a pity that here in Malta we did not invest in growing a community of fans across Europe who could actually affect the vote. Instead, lots of energy was spent entertaining locals with publicity stunts, which although great fun, just further inflated the bubble of local hype. As a result, we have absolutely nothing tangible to show for our marketing efforts. And sadly, Kurt, has nothing to show for it either.
On the other hand, Loreen, and the others who put their energy behind social campaigns, have a fan base that they can continue to reach, even now that Eurovision is over. Thus, when their new records release they’ll have communities that they can tap to build buzz and catapult album sales; plus, they’ll have fans from across Europe who will support them when they go on tour. Unfortunately, Kurt has none of that.
In the US, there is American Idol. This week marked the finale and the naming of the season’s winner. Where does FOX, the network, focus their marketing? Facebook. Contestants’ pages are filled with their firsthand experiences and their personal stories. FOX even provides a set of custom apps, including one for voting through Facebook. Jessica Sanchez, this year’s runner-up has 318,000 fans. When she posted, “This isn’t the end for me,” after the final show she got 20,000 Likes and 5,000 comments. She lost. But did she really lose?
Eurovision is over. Had we invested our efforts in building a social media platform for Malta’s contestant we could have easily been sitting on a massive, engaged community of European Eurovision voters that support Malta. Come next year, we’d already have a respectable base of European fans to introduce our new contestant to. Each year, we’d grow stronger and stronger, and influence more and more voters. But instead we walk away with our heads down.
Did we really lose? Yup.
Could we have done better? Yup.