Thought David McWilliams was a big cheese on 'Irish Twitter' with his 17,000 followers?
Meet Cork-based youngster Cormac Moylan. A consultant with his own company, Moylan is the owner of @MacTrast, a Twitter account with an astonishing 165,000 followers (and just two accounts followed). Although not the biggest following on 'Irish Twitter' (see the celebrity lists here), the scale of the following is an unbelievably powerful platform to help launch a young business onto the next level.
So how did he do it? What can he use it for? I asked Cormac a few questions about how it was done and what he plans to do with it this year.
How long have you been tweeting?
I started tweeting from my personal account in mid 2008. I setup @mactrast (up to 4 months ago it was called @mactweeter but I changed names) on the 12th of November at 2.04PM. The first tweet was a very insightful "setting up my Twitter account" tweet.
What kind of growth have you seen along the way? As in, how many new followers do you get a month?
In November the account grew by 4,842 followers. On average I get approximately 184 new followers each day.
Do you have any idea what percentage of your MacTrast following is Irish? Would it even be 10%?
Irish followers make up fewer than 2% of the total. The UK and US account for approximately 55% of all followers.
Did you deliberately pick Apple as a topic to tweet about?
Yes. As I got more into using Twitter I began using RSS less and less to keep up to date about Apple and other tech news. To compensate for this I created a few Twitter accounts and I set them to private so that only I could follow them, I then configured the accounts to tweet news stories each hour. I basically began using Twitter as my RSS reader. It worked a charm. So much so, in fact, that I thought others might benefit from following the accounts too. I removed the privacy and the @mactrast account took off. It completely grew organically. I watched the follower count go from 1 to 20 in a week and I was chuffed. I watched it jump to 1,000 a few weeks later and was amazed.
Do you think that the reason your MacTrast account has so many followers is that it is about Apple-related news, how-tos and other stuff?
The account has so many followers because Apple users are fanatics. They're loud, they like to show off, and they swarm on Apple news. This resulted in the account going viral through retweets. My followers have helped to make @MacTrast [one of] the most popular sources for Apple news on Twitter.
How much time do you have to spend on the MacTrast account every day?
Zero. It's 100% automatic. The account syndicates content from a few handpicked Apple blogs that post amazing content. I check in every now and then to glimpse at the retweets and replies and maybe post a link but I don't have to spend any time on the account in order for it to be active.
Do companies ever approach you to try and get you to tweet about stuff? If so, have you ever done them the favour?
All the time. If the product is good I will tweet about it. @MacTrast is a traffic machine. A mention on the account could easily result in a ten fold increase in traffic for a website.
Does the large Twitter following translate into good business for your consultancy? If so, much? Have you won any significant business because of it?
I don't offer any services from the account. It's a pet project that grew legs.
What’s next for you, business-wise?
I'm investigating a few opportunities that can leverage the full potential of the account and offer something that is unique to the 165,000 followers. At the moment I am not earning a penny from the account. All that will change in 2011.