Financial advisors eager to reach the highly coveted high-net-worth investor crowd are quickly discovering that social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ provide the most effective and efficient way to connect with these increasingly more informed clients.

According to a Cogent Research survey of American and Canadian investors with more than $100,000 in investable assets, more than 5 million high-net-worth investors are currently using social media for a variety of financial planning and investment research activities. Of this group, almost 75% identified LinkedIn as the social media platform they use the most for investment research—more than twice the number who are using Facebook, Google+ and Twitter combined.

The survey found that respondents feel LinkedIn has created a “trusted platform for financial service companies” to engage with HNW investors and, compared to other social media sites, LinkedIn is the preferred platform for financial content, connecting with business colleagues, posting business updates and sharing and receiving new information about their industry.

Perhaps more compelling, especially for those looking to monetize their social media presence, the survey found that LinkedIn is now considered the second-best place for financial companies to advertise online, trailing only financial websites. The most common reason cited for this preference was the contextually relevant content provided on LinkedIn.

The popularity of LinkedIn among big-dollar investors has made the site the most important social media destination for financial advisors in all specialties.

According to a Hubspot 2011 survey of 611 advisors, 61% said they had landed a new client directly from LinkedIn.

Among “ultra affluent” investors—defined as those with more than $5 million in investable assets— investment research was identified as the top reason they visit the LinkedIn site and investment groups.  

Compared to the average investor, the ultra affluent are 37% more likely to trust information on their LinkedIn network and 157% more likely to trust articles that are shared on LinkedIn, the survey found.

Not surprisingly, HNW investors have ratcheted up their expectations of advisors and social media sites as their usage has increased. Fifty-three percent say they expect to receive relevant and timely content from these social media platforms and 45% said they would value real-time interaction and conversation with an advisor or other investors.

Among advisors who have used at least one social network for business, 91% said they have used LinkedIn compared to Facebook (32%), Google+ (28%) and Twitter (22%).

More details and data from the survey will be unveiled May 10 at LinkedIn’s Financial Services Summit at the Time Warner Center in New York City.

Larry Barrett writes for Financial Planning.