Registered investment advisors are thinking outside the box in terms of client prospecting and communication, and product mix this year.

While half of advisors have yet to dip their toes in the water, the rest are spending time exploring social media, albeit less than an hour a day for most of them, according to a survey by Rydex.

Most advisors favor LinkedIn for this purpose (42%), although 27% use Facebook. The numbers dwindle fast after that, with 15% using YouTube and 13% using Twitter. Maya Ivanova, a senior market research manager at Rydex, said that advisors’ fears over what exactly the rules of engagement are for social media may be preventing many from taking the leap just yet, but 62% of RIAs think social media outreach will have a lasting impact on their businesses.

Tough as it was, last year was a good year for registered investment advisors as 72% grew their assets under management, according to Rydex/SGI’s Advisor Benchmarking survey. Of the remainder, 20% say that their assets decreased last year and 8% say assets stayed the same.

Independent advisors are cautiously optimistic that they can maintain business growth this year of around 6% on average. The majority, 72%, of advisors, say they’re in “growth mode” this year, aiming to increase clients, assets and revenue.

At 91%, almost all advisors say growing profits is their top priority this year.

Advisors are also looking more at alternative investments, which this study defines as all assets that aren’t correlated to stocks, bonds or cash. Only 10% of advisors don’t use alternative investments. About half consider themselves knowledgeable and 18% consider themselves experts in alternative asset classes.

“Advisors are using more non-traditional outreach and non-traditional products, which looks to be the next evolution in the industry,” Ivanova said.