A new study from consulting firm Kasina came out this week revealing asset management firms’ use of social media. According to the study, 39% of firms are on LinkedIn, and between 20% and 25% are on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Even more interesting, while a whopping 84% of asset management firms believe social media will have a lasting impact on financial services, only 48% engage in some form of social media.

Why the gap? Because, according to the study, 74% of firms feel inhibited by compliance concerns.

Sure, that would’ve made sense a year—or even a month—ago. But with FINRA’s recent new social media guidelines —much of which was surprisingly lenient on things like Tweets and wall posts—advisors have no reason to fear social media any longer. In last week’s column, we discussed great new ways to use LinkedIn and Twitter. This week, we continue our three-part special on social media discussing how to build your online presence across myriad social media outlets.

OPTIMIZING YOUR BRAND

In a universe that is changing at the blink of an eye, search engine optimization is still the best way to build your online presence. The first step in optimizing your brand is to figure out what words your target market is using to find you. One way to do this is through a simple Google search; try out a few different searches you think people in your area may use to find your business. When you find the search that turns up your company—or similar companies—you’ve got your match. Another way, of course, is to ask your clients what words they would use to find you. Allie Herzog, president of Integrate PR, also recommends using Google Analytics, which can show you how people have found your website in the past. Using these tools, you can gather a handful of words to use to optimize their online presence.

The next step is to take that handful of words and make sure it is on your firm’s website, in your blog’s title and posts, in your Tweets and in all of your profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Creating a Google Profile using Google Business is also a helpful optimization tool, Herzog reveals. Ideal for small businesses, a Google Profile lets businessmen and women target people within their zip codes by adding keywords to their profile and across websites, pictures and videos with a description of the services they offer, Herzog says. Happy optimizing!

USING FACEBOOK—BUT NOT HOW YOU THOUGHT

Unlike LinkedIn, Facebook was created as a networking site for college students. While it has grown immensely over the past five years, Facebook remains a better tool for catching up with old classmates than finding local high-net-worth professionals. But that doesn’t mean Facebook can’t be helpful. In fact, a good Facebook profile can help you create the most critical weapon in your social media arsenal—your online presence.

“It helps to expand existing relationships and build an online presence, so when people Google you, they see an active, strong presence that extends who you are in person,” says Marie Swift, president of Impact Communications, and one of our weekly discussion hosts.

That means keeping a clean, professional profile on Facebook—one which includes all of your keywords, articles and speaking engagements. If you’re concerned about your quirky nephew’s comments or the photos your friend tags from your beach vacation, set your privacy settings so that no one can see your pictures and wall posts—only the clean, professional profile you can control.

Whether you acquire new clients from a a current client, a holiday party or a LinkedIn group, the first place a prospective client goes is the internet. Building a professional, strong and active online presence is one of the best things you can do to build your business in these internet-crazed times. “It’s about who you affiliate with and how you position yourself in the world,” Swift says. “You’re demonstrating in a global way who you are as a professional.”

In next week’s column, we will conclude our three-part look at the thriving world of social media with important tips to avoiding a hefty risk social media presents—the time suck.