Advisors may still feel a bit awkward as well as worried about compliance when they use social media, but they’re definitely using it to build their brands and businesses, according to a new study by SourceMedia, publisher of Financial Planning, On Wall Street and Bank Investment Consultant.

A majority (51.4%) of nearly 900 independent, wirehouse and bank advisors surveyed say they rely on social media for both business and personal use. RIAs are the most enthusiastic users, with 52.7% saying they use it for business and personal reasons, followed by 46% of bank advisors and 37.8% of wirehouse and regional firm advisors.

They don’t feel they’re experts, with only 11.7% of those surveyed claiming they have extensive social media experience. Still, 45.6% of advisors say they have moderate experience, with bank advisors in the lead at 64.7%, followed by RIAs at 43.4% and wirehouse advisors at 34.9%.

Advisors are using social media for two main reasons: To research clients, prospects and contacts (69.6% use it either “somewhat” or “most” for this); and to build their brands and promote their businesses (45.6% say they use it “somewhat” or “most” for these purposes).

Most advisors’ firms (71.5%) have a social media policy. Almost all wirehouse advisors (90%) say their firm has a policy, followed by 78.4% of bank advisors and 69.8% of RIAs.

But social media policies alone don’t stop advisors from being nervous about compliance, with 55% citing regulatory or compliance issues as their biggest concern about the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Danielle Reed writes for Financial Planning.