Registered investment advisers are thinking outside their more typical client prospecting and communications streams and product mix this year.

While half of advisers have yet to really give it a try, the rest are spending time exploring social media, albeit less than an hour a day for most, according to a survey by Rydex Investments.

Most advisers, 42%, favor LinkedIn for this purpose, 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 advisers' fears over what exactly the rules of engagement are for social media may be preventing many from taking the leap, but 62% of RIAs think social media outreach will have a lasting impact on their businesses.

Tough as it was economically, last year was a good year for registered investment advisers, as 72% increased their assets under management, according to Rydex/SGI's adviser benchmarking survey.

Of the remainder, 20% said their assets decreased last year, and 8% said assets stayed the same. Independent advisers are cautiously optimistic they can maintain business growth this year of around 6% on average. The majority, 72%, of advisers said they are in "growth mode" this year, aiming to increase clients, assets and revenue. At 91%, almost all advisers said increasing profits is their top priority this year.

Advisers are also looking more at alternative investments, which this study defines as all assets that are not correlated to stocks, bonds or cash. Only 10% of advisers do not use alternative investments. About half consider themselves knowledgeable and 18% consider themselves experts in alternative asset classes.

"Advisers are using more nontraditional outreach and nontraditional products, which looks to be the next evolution in the industry," Ivanova said.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.