If you’re not using Twitter, StockTwits, LinkedIn and other social media when you invest, you could be making a mistake that could deprive you of potential profits. One big catalyst that came in 2013 was the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] began allowing companies to use Facebook and Twitter to communicate information to investors. And they have been using social media as a way of releasing earnings information and significant corporate news. And tools like Stockal can help you stay on top of such announcements.
Financial bloggers and analysts use Twitter to let people know what they’re thinking about stocks and news events. And there are cases where news breaks first for investors on social media. So social media can be a way of becoming aware of what’s happening in real time or before the news becomes stale.
You want to monitor the stocks and industries you have exposure to in your portfolio. Social media is an important way to get this information, whether you’re following columnists or opinion leaders who use social media to get their opinions out or you want to share ideas. It’s another tool in your toolbox. If you’re making a decision about investing, it might not hurt to do a search on Twitter or another social media channel as a source, because others are using it for that same reason.
Follow people whose insights you find useful. There’s also value in using Twitter as a search mechanism, when you want to find out what’s happening about a stock. If you own Apple, for instance, and want to find what people are saying about it, type in the search box in Twitter a dollar sign followed by the stock symbol [$AAPL]. Then, you’ll get a reverse chronological stream of all the comments that have been made about the stock on Twitter.
One of the challenges of Twitter is that it can be overwhelming and hard to know which tweets are valuable. With crowdsourcing, someone is finding serious insights that could be helpful for you. For example, Stocktwits. It’s a community of members who are interested in talking about stocks. With Stocktwits, you can follow a stream of messages for the watchlist of stocks you have exposure to or follow messages in a stream of a newsfeed from individuals recommend to you by Stocktwit management. This is better than Yahoo message boards because those are filled with so much gossip and inappropriate material. A crowdsourcing service like Stocktwits is somewhat more serious-minded.
There are a lot of blogs out there; bookmark about four or five on my newsfeed and follow them often. Which ones you’ll want to follow depends on the style of writing you have an affinity towards.
There’s always a risk, whether with old-school print media or new social media. Everything you receive has to be taken with a grain of salt. If someone has a wide following, that’s probably because he has historically generated information that’s useful and reliable. But you definitely have to know your source. You never want to act on information you receive from one source of insight. That’s true with print media, too.
Ultimately, if you find yourself overwhelmed with information and feel it’s burdensome to follow too many people on social media, try out Stockal – among other things, it covers social media pretty widely and helps users get just the right amount of information without having to follow “influential” people. It also combines investing signals from social media with those from Wall St. analyst opinions to give you a holistic picture of every stock. Get it here.