I received an email from Bryan last week, asking how to go about connecting with trading mentors and other traders online. Great question!
So I started typing up a response, but as soon as I finished the first two sentences, I realized that the email would be a really (really) long and I was better off creating a blog post.
I've actually been thinking of writing this post for awhile now and I'm glad that Bryan provided the encouragement for me to finally do it. In this post, you will learn the ins and outs of connecting with people online and how to use the major social networks to form meaningful relationships to help improve your trading and enrich your life.
Why You Should Connect
“No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”
– John Donne
By nature, trading is a very solitary endeavor and it is difficult to find people in your everyday life who are serious about trading. Sure, a lot of people go through their “trading phase” on their way through other opportunities such as no-money-down real estate, network marketing and travel clubs. I call opportunities in which you only care about the money (but do not love), Green Fairies.
Finding serious traders takes some work, but your trading success depends on it. You might even be able to find a mentor (or two) online. Lynette Allen was able to find several people who were willing to help her out and ultimately led to her trading full time.
Although succeeding on your own can be done, it is significantly more difficult. One example of someone who succeeded without a mentor is Adam Jowett from Australia. He mentions in the interview that it would have helped to have a mentor.
Connecting with other traders not only gives you access to different trading strategies, but it also provides moral support and inspiration, which I believe are more important than any trading system.
No man is an island.
Find some of my favorite FX people to follow on Twitter here.
Somehow people think that online friendships are different from offline friendships because you have never met the person before. It is true that they are different types of friendships, but I feel that online friendships can be just as deep, if not deeper than offline friendships.
The main reason is that if you connect online, you are communicating with the other person because you have a common interest. In person, you may hang out with someone just because you work with them or you are their neighbor, but not necessarily because you share any interests.
Through personal experience and from hearing from others who have a lot of online friends, you can become really good friends with a person just through Twitter, for example. And most of the time, you will find that the person is almost exactly the same offline as they are online.
So value the connections that you make online just as you would any other offline friendship. Treat people online the same way that you would treat them in real life.
To put it more bluntly…Don't Be A Douchebag (DBAD).
Let me start with Twitter because it can be the hardest to grasp if you have never used it before. If you don't get it, don't worry…hardly anyone gets it on the first two tries. It actually took me three tries to finally figure it out.
But once you understand how it works, I feel that it is the most powerful connection platform in the world. Think of it as online, public text messaging. These text messages are called Tweets and are limited to 140 characters…short and sweet.
When you follow someone, you see their Tweets in your stream. You can then share their Tweet with the people who follow you, you can reply to their Tweet or you can just read the Tweet and do nothing.
To get people to follow you, send out Tweets that are useful or funny. If you don't care about having followers, then just follow others. But the more people that follow you, the better. That gives you more opportunities to connect with other traders.
Even if you are not interested in Twitter, read through this section because a lot of the concepts will be referenced in later sections. That also gives me time to try to convince you to use it. 🙂
Why would you want to use Twitter? Two primary reasons…
- To get information. People on Twitter are always sharing content that they find interesting and you can find a lot of stuff that can help your trading.
- To interact. You can respond to their Tweets and actually have a conversation with them online.
Starting a conversation with someone might be hard or intimidating. Here are a few ways to break the ice:
- Share their tweets. If you “retweet” their tweets they usually appreciate it and will say thanks. Remember, just like in real life, you are not doing it because you want something from them later. You are doing it because you genuinely think that they shared something cool. Here is an example when I retweeted something from Raghee Horner:
- Say something funny. I've found that this is the most effective method for breaking the ice. 99% of people out there have a sense of humor and if you can make them laugh, it is a great way to get a conversation started. Just be careful not to be too over the top on the first try, unless you understand their sense of humor. Some people might not get your sense of humor and could be offended. Here is a wisecrack that led to Casey Stubbs writing a guest post for Trading Heroes.
- Help them out. Maybe they have a problem that you could help with. It might not even be trading related. If you know a lot about wine and they are looking for a good recommendation, by all means let them know what you think.
Don't know where to start? Follow Trading Heroes on Twitter and see who I follow. That will give you some ideas.
If you are not sure if you want to follow someone, you can just follow them for a couple of weeks to see if you like their Tweets. If not, you can just unfollow them…easy.
You can follow individual people or their page on Facebook. Either one is good, the same principles apply.
If they are a forex educator and they have a page, Like their page and you will see their updates in your news stream. Just like with Twitter, share information that you find useful and comment on posts that you like. Spread the good karma and help others who also comment on that page.
Remember DBAD? Don't post anything on their page that promotes you or tries to get stuff for free. Be cool and just make some friends.
We would love to meet you on the Trading Heroes Facebook Page.
Also try joining some groups related to trading. Here is a lot of spam on some of those groups, but some of them are worthwhile. Check them out.
If they don't have a page dedicated to trading, then it might be a little tougher to connect with them on Facebook. Send them a friend request, follow them and see where it goes from there.
Do a Google search and find blogs that are related to trading. When you are on Twitter, look at the profiles of people and see if they have a blog. Ask others what their favorite trading blogs are.
When you find these blogs, the best way to get started is to comment on one of their blog posts. Again, don't just comment for the sake of commenting. Share an experience, help another commenter or contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way.
Blasting the blogger with 100 questions in the beginning or being annoying is a great way to get banned or at least ignored. Bee cool and once you develop a rapport with the blogger, then you can start to ask questions or get their opinion on things.
You might even want to start your own blog. I have found that it is a great way for other traders to find you…just like you found me. 🙂
OK, OK, here are a few blogs to get you started.
G+ is not used by as many people as Facebook, but the people who use it are usually pretty serious users. This means you will find less cat pictures than on Facebook…at least for now.
Google+ is all about Circles. You can add people or pages to your Circles and see what these people post. The primary benefit of Google+ is that it is tightly integrated into Google search and this can help you discover other great trading websites.
Again, just like with Twitter or Facebook…be cool, make friends, comment and reshare the good stuff. Want to see the traders who are in my circles? Check them out here.
How To Easily Manage Your Social Media Accounts
Before we move on to other ways to connect with traders, let me give you a quick tip on managing all of your accounts. It can be a pain to constantly log into your different social media accounts and that alone can discourage you from making friends with traders online.
I personally use Hootsuite and I love it. If you have 5 accounts or less, Hootsuite is free forever and it works great. I also have it on my iPhone and I know when someone mentions me or I get a direct message. That makes easy to stay on top of a conversation and respond in a reasonable amount of time.
There are some other trader communities out there that you might want to check out. My only issue with these communities is that you have to filter through a lot of crap to find the good stuff. But if you are willing to put in some time, you can find some great people.
Here is where I recommend you start:
Just like on the previous platforms, strike up a conversation and see where it goes from there. The great thing about some of these websites like MyFxBook is that you can actually see what a person is trading and their results.
This one is slightly different from the others in that you will actually be meeting people in real life, but it is a website that allows you to find different interest groups online. It is usually free or low cost to go to these meetups.
Don't see a kick ass trading group in your area yet? Go start one! It costs a little bit of money to organize one, but you can ask for donations to subsidize the fees and the connections you form can be invaluable.
Now you have no excuse for not being able to find other traders online. Just get out there and make some friends! Once you get started, it is a lot of fun.
Have you found a lot of trading friends online? Or are most of your in-person friends traders? Leave a comment below and let me know, I'm interested to find out.