Over the past decade, social media has become a cornerstone of digital marketing activities, virtual relationship building, entertainment, and information exchange. 3.5 billion social media users exist worldwide with an average of 3 hours spent on social media channels per day. Many social media users prioritize their follower count and social connections in order to reinforce their online reach and feel connected to a community of like-minded individuals, particularly in a climate of physical social isolation.
Because social media is so deeply ingrained within our daily lives, our team was motivated to determine where in the U.S. social media users prioritize their number of friends, followers, and connections the most. For that purpose, we surveyed hundreds of social media users across the U.S. to uncover which states are the most socially connected across six key social media networks -- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and TikTok.
We asked an equal number of respondents how many social media connections they have on each of the six networks listed above and then calculated the sum to find each respondents’ total number of connections. From there, we found the average number of social media connections by state and by generation.
The Most Socially Connected States Across All Six Social Networks
Averaging 2,368 followers across all six networks, Kentucky earned the title of the number one most connected state on social media, followed by Tennessee and California, with 2,281 and 2,135 average followers, respectively. According to Influence.co, Louisville, KY is a hub for 444 top fashion, food, fitness, and lifestyle micro-influencers, and nearly 50% of Louisville residents post or update their social media accounts multiple times per day.
Nashville, TN has over 2,576 social media influencers including musicians, photographers, chefs, celebrity trainers, and reality TV stars. 28,000 influencers hail from the Hollywood Hills, Santa Monica, and the greater Los Angeles area. New York, a U.S. capitol for social networking, earned the number eight spot with an average of 1,457 followers across six social channels. States in the South, like Texas, Alabama, and North Carolina also ranked high in terms of their average number of social media connections.
The States With the Most Followers On Each Social Network
Our survey found that Californians have the largest average number of friends on Facebook. California has over 19 million Facebook users, meaning 1 out of every 2 Californians has an account. Tennessee ranks highest on Instagram, with an average of 1,511 followers -- an impressive average given the survey national average of followers on Instagram was 309 followers.
Oregon ranks highest on Twitter with an average of 785 followers compared to the survey national average of 186 followers, while Connecticut ranks highest on LinkedIn averaging 635 connections compared to the survey national average of 137 connections. Lastly, our survey found that younger generations have the highest number of followers on Snapchat and TikTok within Indiana and Kentucky respectively.
The Generations With the Most Followers On Each Social Network
Generation X, ages 39-55, heavily uses social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn that are established, less experimental, and prioritize privacy. Survey results revealed that Gen X has 8.19% more friends on Facebook than all other generations surveyed and 41.33% more connections on LinkedIn. Gen X professional networks on LinkedIn will keep growing as LinkedIn continues to transition into a platform for industry-focused content consumption and continuing education, rather than solely a recruitment platform.
Survey results found that Gen Z has 32% more followers on Instagram than the survey’s national average, followed by Millennials with 9.29% more followers than the survey’s national average. What’s more, 70% of the Gen Z population use Instagram primarily to watch ‘Insta stories.’ The stories format gives Instagram users an outlet for short-term self-expression with the ability to create and watch 24-hour image and video updates within their network.
Results found that Millennials, ages 25-38, have 8.63% more Twitter followers than all other generations surveyed. Hootsuite’s latest report highlighted that Millennials prioritize Twitter to stay connected with news and current events, keep abreast of what topics are trending, and share video and images among their network of followers.
Gen Z, ages 16-24, are most active on Snapchat and TikTok since themed dance challenges, viral entertainment, and escapist content on these platforms resonate the most with American teens and young adults. Gen Z participation rates on these social channels surpass participation rates on Facebook and even Instagram. Our survey found that Gen Z has 65% more TikTok followers than respondents in any other generation and a rigorous 172% more Snapchat friends than respondents in any other generation. In fact, Business Insider predicts that Snapchat will earn 1.2 million new Gen Z users by 2022.
To sum up, whether you’re fostering relationships through online means, advocating for a cause or idea, or promoting a brand, large-scale connectivity across social networks is critical. In turn, large social media followings usually develop from high levels of engagement, activity, and quality content creation. For marketers, it’s important to know the geographic locations and age ranges associated with these large followings so that they can adjust their content and social media marketing strategies in order to reach them in the most effective way.
Visit our services page for information on how our advisory team at Teneo devises bespoke, influence-driven social media strategies for top executives, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they lead.