Online trading has recently evolved from an activity where traders were mainly insulated from other people when making decisions on stocks and forex to a more community-based environment where tips, insights, and strategies can be shared for the benefit of all.
Key to this shift is the launch of a growing variety of online channels where traders can interact with other traders in a safe and secure environment. These channels can range from forums where traders can ask questions and respond to other users, to specific community features offered by brokers that facilitate “social trading”. All these channels can help traders to maximize gains and minimize losses as they build investment portfolios.
One of the most popular community-based options for traders is forums. These forums often feature sub-forums that allow visitors to talk about a range of topics including forex, crypto, stocks, and CFD. Perhaps more importantly for the trading community, forums enable users to list broker complaints, which can help traders partner with reputable and trustworthy brokers when they start. Forums often operate independently of specific brokers, which makes them ideal for traders who want unbiased opinions.
For those that want more than just advice and insights, many trading platforms now offer a wide range of “social” features. Social trading allows users to view the strategies that other traders are currently implementing and copy them completely. This can be very useful if you don’t have the time to conduct an in-depth analysis yourself and prefer to take the lead from more experienced traders. However, there is no guarantee that you will make profits, so social trading should be approached with caution.
While technically a forum, Reddit hit the headlines recently after users on the platform began buying into cheaper stocks such as GameStop and AMC during the pandemic, which led to the surge in share prices for previously overlooked companies. These “amateur” investors frequent a variety of subreddits about trading. These social spaces are fueling broader stock trading activity and similar to forums, nurture a growing, engaged community of retail investors.
Some platforms offer educational courses, mentorship, and one-on-one assistance to traders. These paid-for channels often include community hubs and are designed to help traders improve and hone their skills while discussing trending stocks and how best to use tools such as stop losses. Online courses are ideal for newbies but, again, research is required to ensure you get value for your money.
Trading chat rooms are similar to forums, but they operate in real-time and are best for minute-by-minute discussions and analysis. While forums are separated into different topics, which make them easier to navigate and better for in-depth discussions, chat rooms are ideal for quick, snappy insights and reactions to trading news and events. Many chat rooms have a subscription fee, but they do offer features such as trade alerts and screen sharing.
Other platforms that bring traders together include social media sites such as Twitter where accounts post updates and followers can like, comment, and share content, and trading mobile apps which also offer social features. All these platforms offer much-needed support and guidance, which has helped create safe and knowledgeable communities that traders can rely on.