Creator spotlight: Joao Schiavinato on dealing with negativity and building a following from X Factor stans

Harry Styles and Joao Schiavinato

Hi Joao. Tell us about what kind of content you post, and on what platforms?
Well I pretty much have the whole of the FITTY Index plus Snapchat. I’ve stopped posting on Twitter so much lately, and I don’t upload to my YouTube channel anymore but it’s still there. Instagram is my main platform for sure. I do have a TikTok but I didn’t really get into the hype.

My Instagram content is very lifestyle, food, fashion – it’s just a vlog of my daily life, really. Selfies, what I’m eating, where I’m going. On my Stories you can see everything that I’m doing day-to-day, and I interact with my followers a lot via polls. I love doing little things like that and reading the responses, especially at night. It makes me feel a lot closer with them. I certainly have less to post now with coronavirus, and I’ll post my favourite photos on my feed.

What kind of content do you KNOW will get a big reaction before you post it?
Well, look, a big part of my following is because of The X Factor and One Direction…

When I first moved to London I lived right opposite The X Factor studios and had to basically walk through them every day to get to the tube station. I’d see the contestants, say hi and have photos, and post them online. I started to get invited to the rehearsals and would post photos from them on Twitter. Then X Factor fans followed me and I got a lot of reposts and all that. 

I’ve always been a small-town guy, I lived in a small town in Brazil, and then started doing YouTube when I moved to London too because I was pretty sure that people would want to know what it was like. Suddenly it was all in front of me – I could see The X Factor from my window! If Beyonce or Lady Gaga were performing that night I’d just take a picture and put it up and be like, ‘how cool is this’ and people would freak out. As I got more comfortable in London I started meeting more influencers and doing more collaborations, and getting invited to events like Soccer Six. Soccer Six always attracted a lot of celebrities (like One Direction) so when I began to make connections within the band and posted content from there, then I’d get a lot of the celebrity fans following me too so they could see more ‘behind the scenes’ stuff.

View this post on Instagram

it’s the pearl necklace for me. @harrystyles 😋

A post shared by Joao Schiavinato (@joaoschiavinato) on

Did you move to London with the plan of becoming a Content Creator?
With YouTube, yes because I was watching everyone like Jack’s Gap, Tyler Oakley, Zoella, Marcus Butler – the whole crew – and they were my idols because I loved YouTube at the time. I had just moved to London and would look to them to see what I could do in the same places, like if they posted from a restaurant and it looked amazing then I’d really want to go and try that restaurant. My friends were telling me, “Oh, you can do it too, you live in London and you already have followers,” so with YouTube I started posting things from London Fashion Week and things like that. I had zero connections and didn’t go to the shows, I’d just hang out outside and see the models and the guests. The followers just started building, and I’d always tag other people and the place I was and get reposts and increase my visibility like that. I think I had five or ten thousand followers on Instagram at that time.

Those dreamy X Factor golden days were a while ago now (10 years… gulp) so did you notice the audience drop off when the show started to get a bit crap?
You know, it was more when I moved out of London to Bournemouth when I noticed a drop. This was like, three years ago, and Bournemouth is a lot quieter than London and the content I made in London was more exciting – but I knew that would happen. I’m not walking through town and randomly stumbling on a red carpet event anymore. I noticed a drop, but there are a lot of followers who have stuck with me and grown with me. People still comment things like ‘bring back your YouTube!’ now.

I was about 18 when all The X Factor stuff was happening and I guess most of my followers a little younger, and we’ve all matured. My content is now more about fashion and lifestyle, and they can relate. I followed a lot of them and it’s so cool now to see them do things like graduate or get married – it’s so cool to see that positivity that can come from social media because there’s so much negativity out there.

Oh man there is. How do you deal with low days online, like when you get lower engagement rates – how do you not take it personally?
OK so this sounds really shallow, but it is hard when something doesn’t do as well as you thought it would. 

It’s not shallow! Social media was quite literally designed to make us chase the hit of a like, so it does suck when something doesn’t do as well as you’d hoped.
Yes, and I post pictures that I like a lot or that mean something, and if they get low engagement then I just take it as a lesson and try and learn what I can do differently next time. Was it the time that I posted, or was it the content? I know that my best time to post is between 7 and 10pm. Sometimes I’ll get excited about something outside those times, post it and it won’t do as well and I’ll be like “ugh WHY didn’t I just wait until the next day?” but the excitement just got to me. 

Obviously if I post something completely not relevant to me then it won’t do well. If a brand came to me and asked me to post about cars… I don’t even drive! So I would say no.

Wise. Engagement rates aren’t the only thing that can make us feel crap online though.
Of course, and sometimes you do get hate. It’s hard for people to understand that even though you are actively on social media there are still parts of your life that you don’t want to share. I’m very transparent but there are still things I don’t want to post, and people will comment like ‘What happened with this or this person’ or whatever. You can get 99 great comments and just one negative one, and that’s the one that’s going to stick in your head.

Everyone who has a bit of a social presence will get hate for nothing. You have to have a thick skin to expose so much of your life. A lot of social is amazing, it just has some downsides like everything in life.

View this post on Instagram

is it friday yet?

A post shared by Joao Schiavinato (@joaoschiavinato) on

It’s true. One of the great things is that people can turn content creation into a career. How did you first start to make money from your social presence?
The first money I earned was with an affiliate deal with OnePiece, the onesie brand. I was introduced to the management through a mutual friend who also worked online, and started getting more involved with them just by attending events and getting to know the PR team. They launched an influencer initiative, giving codes to ‘piece keepers’ and we earned money if people bought something with our code. It was so cool to be making money from the internet for the first time! I’d never made money online before.

So what advice would you give to creators who are starting out or looking to grow their audience?
The way you treat others really comes back to you. Be kind. Everyone is going through something we don’t know about. Reach out and meet new people, and be nice. Also a lot of it is about being ahead of the game and experimenting with new tools and filters. I follow the Instagram Creators account and a few people who work at Instagram, like Eva Chen. Oh man, I started following her for the tips she posted about Instagram and now I’ve ended up voting for and fully invested in what kind of floor she gets in her house.


See more of Joao on his Instagram, and have a look at his vintage YouTube videos here if you like. 

By proceeding you accept our terms and conditions