Nice article! Let me share my experience, when I started here I never thought I would gain followers anytime soon. But I have touched 600 today. (I've been writing seriously on medium for 3-4 months. )
Let me also tell you followers don't always translate to readers. just imagine if you are following more than a 100 people, would you read all their work everyday? But of course having a large number of followers shift the probability in your favour. So what one should actually do is engage with people whose work they like and grow readership by forming connections. (And also focus on writing good articles).
I can say, I have definitely grown here as a writer since I started writing here, I never thought I would write poems but I have written around 60 now.
Hope you enjoy your time here as well.