Road to 10k Instagram Followers: Month 1

02.08.2017 - 1 Comment

It’s a tale as old as time…

How do I get more followers on Instagram? (Before reading the rest of this blog post, please everyone watch the new Beauty and the Beast trailer and then tweet at me. I have thoughts and feelings.)

One Happy Medium goal in our social media department for the New Year has been to grow our Instagram following to 10,000 followers in 2017. Since I started in April 2015 (nearly two years ago), our Instagram strategy has changed dramatically because Instagram has changed dramatically. In these two years, the biggest change we saw was the algorithm-based timeline. If you can remember all the way back to 2015, we were still seeing a sequential timeline with posts being recognized in the order in which they were posted.

Going from a sequential timeline to an algorithm-based timeline meant that more substantial posting was required. Instead of posting ‘grams like you would tweets, thoughtful copy and serious photography was rewarded and served to more people in the almighty algorithm.


So, we played by the rules

We stopped doing takeovers on Instagram because if people weren’t going to see your content “in order” it doesn’t make sense to share something that is so time-sensitive. Instagram used to be the in-the-moment answer for photo sharing. Brands began using Snapchat around the same time that Instagram went to the algorithm timeline, so in-the-moment photos moved to Snapchat, allowing for Instagram to become more stylized.

We also stopped posting more than once a day. Obviously there are days we don’t follow that rule, like for our holiday Instagram series, but overwhelmingly, we only post once per day.


And that helped!

Since April 2015, we’ve grown our following by 1,522 followers—from 870 to 2,392 at the start of January 2017. That averages to about 2.3 followers per day.

Our social media team will be providing these stat updates for you throughout the year with “things we’ve tried” so you can put in to practice what’s worked for us (and avoid what didn’t!)


This is the oldest trick in the book, but we decided to start with tried-and-true practices to make sure there was still validity in them. In January, we went on a following spree. We followed over 600 new accounts (all who follow Adweek, since there is a common shared interest) from Happy Medium to see what the follow-back conversion rate would be. Of the 672 accounts we followed, we were followed back by 399 accounts, which averages to about a 59% conversion rate.

Happy Medium’s Instagram grew by 16.7% in January and gained an average of 12.9 new followers per day (yeah, that’s right 12!) So for those of you keeping track at home, if we keep up this pace for a year, we’ll gain 4,708 fans in 2017, getting to 7,498 total followers. Those are impressive stats for sure, but they don’t quite hit our mark, so in addition to the followers/following strategy, we’ll continue to brainstorm and offer more updates on our “Road to 10K” journey.

Do you have any tips or suggestions that you’ve used in growing your Instagram following?

Anything you’ve heard about and want us to try? We’re all ears! Reach out to us on Twitter at @itsahappymedium.


As a social media strategist for Happy Medium, Grace Wenzel helps clients grow their engagement and reach their audience on a more personal level. Grace is responsible for driving engagement, creating strategies and campaigns, generating reports, and managing customer service to make sure Happy Medium’s clients get more out of social media than just fans and likes. Grace graduated from Drake University with degrees in radio/TV producing and English.

  • I love the trailer too. Can’t wait for the movie :) but anyways, thanks for sharing your growth. Congrats on achieving the milestone! I think engaging with your followers and a bunch of people helps a lot too. Also, I wanna know do you recommend any Instagram automation tools? would love to know. Thanks Grace!

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