Social media is “hot.” The number of consultants, workshops and conferences catering to the private wealth industry explaining the benefits of social media and how to use it to source new affluent clients is booming.

At the same time, professionals focusing on the affluent are increasingly interested in getting on the social media bandwagon. Almost half (46.9 percent) of 828 financial professionals surveyed anticipate using social media to market their practices to the affluent over the next three years.

Among that group, financial advisors were the most likely to say they expected to use social media at 51.1 percent, followed by trusts and estate attorneys (38.2 percent), private client attorneys (34.2 percent) and multifamily offices (27.8 percent).

These professionals are looking to social media to help them access wealthy individuals for their services. The problem is that considering the nature and structure of social media today and who is wealthy, there’s a serious disconnect.

Looking out three years, it’s quite possible that technological changes will transform social media in ways that are—for the most part—unexpected. These changes will make using social media to source the affluent a given. However, without such transformational technology, and recognizing who controls the wealth in the world, social media is not the means to access the affluent.

In determining which professionals to engage, the affluent strongly rely on introductions from the professionals they’re currently working with. This is even the case among young, tech-savvy, ultra-wealthy inheritors. The wealthy are not going to the Internet to identify possible professionals to hire. Moreover, there are times they don’t even know the type of expertise they need to deal with a situation. The wealthy are motivated to mitigate risk and relying on the judgment of a professional they trust is the way they lower the possibility of something going wrong.

While social media as it’s currently incarnated is not going to necessarily bring in new business on its own, it is a very effective tool to help close business as well as enhance relationships with not only the affluent but with other professionals that can refer affluent clients. It’s not uncommon for the individual, after being given professional recommendations   by someone working with them, to turn to the Internet for confirmation. By adroitly managing your brand on the Internet, you’re better positioned to close opportunities with the affluent.

You can also use social media to reach out to affluent clients and prospects as well as centers of influence you have some connection with. This way, you can strengthen your position as an authority, which can lead to new business.

Truly benefiting from social media takes a little ingenuity. But, it’s well worth it. Also, it’s very likely that, over time, the value of social media in accessing and working with the affluent will increase.