We’ve already talked about how millennials are attached to their phones, so today let’s talk a little more about why: social media.
Millennials have grown up in a world that is connected 24 hours a day seven days a week, and their biggest online presence is in social media. Heavy hitters like Instagram, Snapchat (SNAP) and Twitter (TWTR) attract around 20 million millennial users every day! They are used in a variety of ways, but the common denominator is staying connected to what others are talking about. In fact, social media has changed the way our society communicates and gets its news … even the recent presidential election was significantly impacted by 140-character tweets.
One of the most obvious plays here is Facebook (FB). You could make the case that this is the kind of pick old Wall Street would make, but this is one of those rare cases where Wall Street happened to land in the right spot in spite of itself. We shouldn’t discount FB just because it’s been around awhile (or because your parents use it). While Facebook may be a pioneer of social media, it isn’t resting on its laurels or rolling over to other rising social media apps. In February, the company launched new employment posting and application tools that connect businesses and job seekers directly, creating some competition for LinkedIn (LNKD) and Glassdoor. It is also coming out with a television service that lets you play videos through smart TVs, and has ventured into the virtual reality craze through its ownership of Instagram. The company continues to innovate, and these growth prospects bode well for the stock, which is already having a strong 2017 on the heels of a solid fourth-quarter earnings report.
One of the hallmarks of next-gen investing is a multifaceted approach to making money, something Wall Street doesn’t offer. FB is a good example of what I’m talking about because it is also a component of my next pick – the Global X Social Media ETF (SOCL). If you are not familiar with ETFs, which is short for exchange-traded funds, they are great ways to play market trends because they give you exposure to multiple companies that are driving the action, which also means they don’t carry the same risk that can come from holding a single name. In SOCL’s case, social media’s biggest and most successful companies serve as its top 10 holdings, including FB, TWTR and China-based Tencent (TCEHY). Not only does this give you instant diversification, it also gives you global exposure to this wide-ranging trend that you would not otherwise be able to get very easily. Tencent, for example, is not traded on U.S. exchanges, and it generated 17.5% gains in the first quarter of the year.
(If you really want to get slick, you can buy an ETF and then invest in the strongest stock or two within that ETF as profit boosters. More on that later!)
Thanks for reading!