You might think of yourself as an Instagram superstar because you have over 10,000 followers, but that’s peanuts compared to the number of people who follow your state’s official Instagram. This interactive map, created by WeSwap with data from Instagram, Census.gov, and worldatlas.com, shows how many people follow the official tourism account of each US state.
While you might assume a warm-weather state, or a densely-populated state, might top the list, it’s actually Michigan that leads the pack with 570,548 Instagram followers. This is likely due to the scenic Great Lakes region and the abundance of social media-obsessed college football fans. Unsurprisingly, California comes in second with 371,625 and Hawaii is in third with 254,561; but the fourth-place ranking might be the biggest head scratcher of all — Montana, with 248,572 Instagram followers, has nearly as many as Hawaii.
If we examine the data, however, Montana’s ranking might not be so surprising after all. Of the top 10 most-followed accounts, eight have a coast line, seven have mountain ranges over 1,000 feet, and six have national parks. And Big Sky Country certainly ticks two of those boxes. It’s not surprising that people tend to follow accounts where photos of sparkling oceans, beautiful forests, and snow-capped mountain ranges are more likely to be featured — everyone loves nature’s beauty.
When it comes to states featured most often in hashtags, the results are drastically different. The field is led by New York, with 73,600,000 tags, California with 62,000,000, and Florida with 38,800,000. The maps would seem to suggest that hashtag use, compared with account followers, is much more dependant on the state’s population size.