How We Grew Our Instagram To 40,000 Followers Organically

Published: September 5th, 2018

My name is Adam Vieira and I am the Creative Director and Co-Owner of Station16 Gallery.

Our gallery specializes in urban contemporary art, and we’ve used social media heavily to build a lifestyle brand and our collector base.

We have grown our Instagram to 40k followers organically, and see hundreds of visits a day on our site because of it.

I wanted to write a short piece about some things I’ve learned through this experience.

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Put most of your energy into only one platform

In our case, being a very ‘visual’ company, we spent most of our energy on Instagram.

Many of our Instagram followers have since migrated towards our facebook and twitter since then, so you don’t always have to put energy in all platforms, just the ones you think will work best for you.

Showcase other accounts on your account

We also work with artists who each have their own accounts, and who will direct their fan base to our account.

So, we often try to showcase different artists everyday, for maximum engagement. We discover artists on our travels, and sometimes on social media as well! Whenever we launch new products with these artists, we photograph the works and send these photos to the artists to make sure they post about it as well, and link to us.

For example, we will make a post about the artist:

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And then, they will make a post about us:

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Work with influencers

We also work with a lot of influencers, who will point to our account and increase our follower count. For example, early on we connected with an account on instagram called @instagrafite, which posted street art and murals.

At the time they had around 100K followers (they have now reached 1 million).

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We developed a relationship with them, and would invite them to select openings and our Mural festival in Montreal.

They became an influencer partner and would also post and direct their audience towards ours. I think partnering with influencers or media partners is a great way to help direct traffic towards your account.

It’s all about the photo

Instagram is all about the photo, we’ve actually noticed that photos where we have a story unfolding (like the blank walls of our gallery, as we setup a show) will do better than a photo of a product.

The more natural the setting, the better.

However, the quality of the photo still needs to be high. We often take photos with an actual camera, instead of our phones, we use a Canon Rebel T5.

Plan out your posts

We also try to post a photo everyday, and several stories a day. Our posts always carry an action, whether that’s to announce a product, or a show.

Our stories are linked to these, but they are behind the scenes, and usually more fun and with movement (short video or boomerang).

It’s important to plan out your posts, rather than post a bunch of content because you’re excited, save it for tomorrow. This will help reach a larger audience, because not everyone is checking their Instagram everyday.

We often try to post in the morning or late afternoon, when people are most likely to be checking their phones. We also plan posts based on our weeks latest releases or announcements.


Engagement is the next very important part of social media. We spend a lot of time replying to people on our account, as well as commenting and tagging on other people’s photos if they are related to the gallery or an artist that we represent.

This helps to build your presence on the platform. No one wants to engage with a bot.

Don’t neglect posting when you get busy!

One problem that we’ve noticed a lot of businesses have with social media, is not posting when things get busy. For example, we’ve noticed that we have the most engagement during a special event, such as a show opening or an art fair we are attending, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of being overly busy and forgetting to stay active on social media.

These have been the times where we tried to be the most active, and it lead to building our following faster. With Instagram, you want others to direct traffic to your account, and these events are when people are posting and searching the most! If your active online, people are more likely to share your content and link to you.

Thanks for reading! For any questions, feel free to reach to me directly through Instagram at @station16gallery