Social media learnings: building a beauty blog from Europe

8th October 2018
Sara Lima

Portugal as the launch point

I graduated from University of Minho in 2018, but this all started way back - when I discovered my passion for makeup, at 16 years old. 

Back then, Youtube was the platform to showcase your talent – vloggers like ClothesEncountersJayde Pierce and HeyParis - with few other options to choose from (or so I thought).  

With time, I went deeper into the e-commerce scene on Youtube (Jordan Cheyenne explains it well).  




I learned about sponsorships, brand deals and “PR gifts”.  I also learned that the majority of those beauty Youtubers  I followed actually started on Instagram.  People like Thuy Lee and Jayde Pierce, for example.

From having built a solid base of followers on Instagram, they migrated from one platform to the other, and the blogger ended up having several creative outlets and more than one source of income.

So after attempting - and promptly failing - at creating a name for myself on Youtube, through amateur makeup tutorials and vlogs, and one viral video — I decided to give Instagram a shot.


Debutante tips

I got myself a good camera (CANON 700D) a couple of the most popular photo editing softwares (Facetune, VSCO Cam, Snapseed) and started working on a few concepts to begin with.

Tip number one: Choose a cohesive theme for your page. When people look at it at first, they will see the bigger picture, not individual posts. Colour-coordinated themes are the best option, since it grabs attention and makes your feed look neater and more put-together.  People who do it brilliantly are Jarline, Jayde and Hanna.

Tip number two: Be. Consistent. No blog page, Instagram profile or Youtube channel can create a solid following if your followers don’t know when to expect another post. People who do it well are Jenn and Caro.

Also check what time of day your followers are most active (Instagram provides that information), especially if you have followers from different countries.

For example, I only post at 9pm, when my Portuguese followers are still awake and my American followers have just woken up.  If you look at Jess Ranger, you will see that she is always posting at 8pm.

Number three: Connect with other bloggers/influencers who share the same theme or concept as you. Message them, comment on their pictures and like their posts. Networking is crucial.  In my world, that means people like Caro, Stephanie and Amore.

But the results were not yet what I needed.

Easy on the hashtags

Tip number four: do your homework. 

I started reading online about the Instagram Algorithm (how to beat it), about the importance of hashtags (keep it short and specific; more than ten and Instagram will hide your photo) and how fundamental finding your niche is. A friend of mine, someone who some might consider a microinfluencer (under 100k followers and above 10k) explained to me that when he found other bloggers from his niche (videographers), he then went on to comment, like and interact with their followers—since both my friend and the blogger had similar content, the blogger’s followers would presumably find my friend’s posts interesting as well.

You’ve got to interact

And that’s what I started to do. I made a list of other influencers that look similar to me and post content like mine - and I interact with their followers.

This brings a lot of exposure to your page and spreads your name and brand to more and more people, while you gain genuine, engaging followers (instead of buying them, which will not give you any engagement at all).

The results were exactly what I had hoped for. As my name became more recognized, I started getting called to participate, either as the main actress or an extra, in several music videos.  The singers or the directors contact me through Instagram, upon seeing my photos.




I also decided to publicly ask if any photographers from my area wanted to collaborate in a photoshoot (no money, only portfolio material for both) and ended up having professional pictures taken and reposted on popular Instagram pages, because of that. And all of it for free!

Now at 10,000 followers, I’ve started doing minor promotions here and there for up and coming musicians, although the goal is to, in the near future, collaborate with brands related to beauty and fashion.