Update: My Mom STILL Has More Instagram Followers Than Me

Olivia O'Neill image
Olivia O'Neill
February 23, 2024

You may recall back in 2022 I made a devastating, humbling, shocking confession: my mom had more Instagram followers than me.

I’m here to tell you she now has even more, and the effortlessness with which she grows her interior design account continues to amaze me, a social media professional.

Since I last spoke to my mom about her Instagram account almost two years ago, she has grown over 40k new followers and had a brand partnership with Ballard Designs (and might be joining a podcast????). The first time we talked in depth about this, I wanted to see if she had any sort of strategy or help from someone besides me—turns out she didn’t, and still doesn’t, so I guess she’s just that talented. 

Olivia: When I originally wrote this blog in September 2022, you had 20K followers and you now have 69k*. What do you think caused the huge spike in followers?  

Mom: Reels were probably a big part of this, and anytime I feature Margaux, our 2 year old Double Doodle, my posts get a lot of attention. I also know that posting Reels caused more attention because of the algorithm. Around Christmas 2022 was when I noticed my likes started to jump from 200, 300, and then suddenly I was getting 1,000 likes on posts. The first one I noticed with 1,000 likes was the front of our house in the snow

*Editor’s note: In the week between when Olivia conducted this interview and when we posted it, we’ve had to change this number twice because the follower count keeps going up!

Olivia: You recently had your first experience working with a brand. How did that come to be and have you had any other opportunities come up? 

Mom: I have a coffee table bench and a woven grass lamp from Ballard Designs that I would always get a ton of questions about. When I responded to the questions I always tagged Ballard and I think they noticed my account that way. I got a DM from Ballard asking if I wanted to do a partnership with them and then emailed back and forth with someone at a marketing agency they work with. The campaign was about how someone can totally change the feel of a room with smaller items, not necessarily new furniture. They gave me a budget and I could pick out items I’d like to have in the room. In exchange for the items I had to do a couple of posts and Reels for them. 

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Olivia: Did you see an uptick in followers from this? 

Mom: While this was happening I already was in the process of changing a lot about that room anyway. Right before Ballard reached out I was about to reach 50k and then after Ballard, I went from 50k to 60k in about two weeks. I really think my styling is what people are drawn to and why my followers have increased so much. 

Olivia: Have you had any other companies reach out to work with you? 

Mom: Not really, some guy reached out about Ballard again about something to do with a podcast… I have to look more into that. 

Olivia: What have you changed in the last year and a half, if anything? 

Mom: There have been a few accounts that have over 100k that have shared my stuff. I don’t remember who it was because I don’t follow them (lol). They shared the one post I have with the gallery wall and also the front of the house. I do get a lot of Stories shares and it’s from all kinds of accounts. Every day I get a lot of notifications for shares. When I look at my analytics I see that a lot of people are saving too, which is flattering.

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Olivia: Last time we talked you said you get some engagement from being in engagement groups with other accounts. Do you still rely on that? 

Mom: No, I left the engagement group because I didn’t want to do it anymore. After that my engagement skyrocketed… not sure why that was. 

Olivia: As your account has gotten bigger, have you noticed an increase in trolls or bot accounts? 

Mom: There have been some people who leave negative comments but it’s pretty sporadic. I always get people trying to say “Hi” in my DMs, it’s always weird men that I don’t know. 

Olivia: Last time we talked about how your content was mostly focused on the living room and how you have to take different angles of it to switch content up. Have you expanded to other rooms, and if so, have you noticed a difference in performance on those posts vs living room content? 

Mom: I started working in the kitchen more and people do respond well to that. I also started working in the bedrooms as I’ve been updating those, but those don’t perform as well. The living room is definitely still the best. I think because I can do the most here with changing things. 

Olivia: Do you notice dog content performs better than regular content? 

Mom: Everyone loves a dog. Margeaux gets a lot of engagement and posts with her in it perform better than when she’s not. People are also very drawn to my artwork and fresh flowers. 

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A post shared by Colleen (@our1842home)

Olivia: What will you do if you hit 100k followers?

Mom: Definitely celebrate, and I’ll do a giveaway!

As for me, I’m still a little jealous, but could never keep up with all the effort involved and still support the #KeepInstagramCasual movement of 2022. But the last time I wrote about this I also gave some tips on what my mom could do to increase visibility on her posts. She listened and applied them all, so I think I can take some credit for her success, and that’s good enough for me. My advice for her in 2024?