Online communities have become critical players in the world of social sharing in the past few years.
According to research from GWI, 76% of global internet users participated in online communities in 2019. And that number has been slowly but steadily increasing.
From hobbies and entertainment, to education, to finance, online communities are offering participants access to resources that simply haven’t been available on a mass scale before.
One of these is Traders Circle X (TCX), a platform for new and established financial traders started by 19-year-old Mihir Sukthankar. TCX is designed to help traders understand the markets, both by creating signals that make it easier to understand when to trade, and to offer strategies and educational advice to enhance traders’ stock portfolios.
Sukthankar has created a complementary product as well, called BoostedQuant. BoostedQuant is a machine-learning A.I. that creates algorithms and designs sequential investment strategies for future financial markets. Clients can customize their BoostedQuant trading bot to fit their needs and investment preferences.
Since there’s no shortage of financial products and services purporting to give casual traders an edge on the market, TCX’s success in building a sustainable online community is even more impressive. I spoke with Sukthankar recently about how he’s kept TCX’s membership growing.
You’ve built a community of more than 4,000 new traders. What are three strategies you used to grow that community?
Mihir Sukthankar: We’ve managed to achieve organic growth mostly through our original content. Our form of social media marketing is our results—this is what has truly grown our community!
At the beginning of 2020, TCX was beating the market with a 90% success rate—there was no one else proving their results like we were! Our successful traders that stuck with us through the ups and downs of 2020, from February highs to March lows, found that we adapted like no other trading group. Lots of these traders began posting their P/Ls to their social media pages, and because of this, word of mouth got us many new clients.
What are some critical differences between how you’d build a Gen-Z-dominated community versus one primarily geared toward Millennials and/or Gen-Xers?
Mihir Sukthankar: Gen-Zs and Millennials are vastly different. Unlike Millennials, who usually work at another job to support themselves, Gen-Z traders care about the way that trading looks and how it can change the way that their peers perceive them. Millennials, on the other hand, use trading as another source of income. It can pay the bills, allow for luxuries in daily life, and can be the way out of a traditional 9-5.
This motivates Millennial traders to dive deeper into the metrics and the numbers behind trading strategies than their Gen-Z counterparts. The need for financial independence has grown exponentially since the pandemic, and is something that Millennials are chasing more than ever before.
Tons of people are trying to build communities around finance and trading. What’s your major differentiator?
Mihir Sukthankar: TCX is constantly improving and delving into different financial markets, as opposed to staying stagnant in just the options world. We’ve shown our users how to invest in the crypto market, maintain and choose stocks for a long-term portfolio, and are developing new products to enhance the TCX trading experience.
Right now, I’m really excited with how MarketDice, our all-topic-inclusive trading information platform, has come along. With BoostedQuant in the works, a personalized trading software that uses machine learning to design future strategies for the market, we’re on a great track to increase the number of avenues available for our traders to achieve success.
How does transparency come into play? How important is it to your clients?
Mihir Sukthankar: Simply put, we’re honest. Trading is, in my opinion, one of the hardest professions, especially when an entire community depends on your leadership. Stress, information, and high-speed processing all cumulates in a single trade; this applies to every trader. We show our losses, as well as our wins. Without transparency, we would not be where we’re at today.
What are some strategies you’d advise for others who are trying to build a community, whether it’s around trading or something else?
Mihir Sukthankar: The reason for our growth has come from our transparency. I’d say you should base your entire community off of honesty. It’ll be impossible to maintain your community, as well as grow it, if you aren’t honest with yourself and those who look to you.
You should also be ok with getting out of your comfort zone. People want to see the faces behind the trades. If you can build an audience that knows who you are and believes in you not just as a trader, but as a person, they will follow you. My team and I do this out of sheer passion for the industry. It’s important to note for everyone who wants to start a community: the money comes from your passion first.
How do you retain your community members? What are a few effective things you’ve done to keep members engaged and continuing to see value?
Mihir Sukthankar: Content is the key to preserving and expanding your community. We don’t focus on upselling our clients, rather, we seek to provide free value as market conditions change.
As well as providing constant doses of free content, we share our own difficulties as professional traders. This allows us to connect with our community in a non-condescending manner; we talk as equals and share our experiences. We’ve also found that members love to connect with like-minded individuals, and we’ve created different channels in our TCX Discord to facilitate this.
Our brand is everything to us. Improving our platforms, like what BoostedQuant and MarketDice will do, improves our community as a whole. The different tools we provide—education, analyses, trading bots, and financial journalism—have empowered the traders in our community. TCX has become a place where people of all walks of life can learn how to trade and create wealth in their lives.
Originally published on Forbes.com