Few can disagree that having a social media presence and strategy is essential, whether you’re an independent advisor or part of a large firm. But some, while armed with the best intentions and high expectations, are often disappointed that they don’t see immediate results from their efforts.

The secret to social media success is to be steady, thoughtful and purposeful – for both the individual advisor and the company implementing a social business program across the enterprise. For Prudential Advisors, this approach has been key.

“We first launched our social business program with a small group of our existing social media users, then proceeded with a phased implementation,” says Birdia Chambers, director of social business strategy at Prudential Advisors. “This approach gave us the opportunity to increase our familiarity and experience with the technology platform we introduced as we increased the number of users. Today, we have close to 1,000 financial professionals and field managers who focus on prospecting and recruiting through social, and we look forward to increasing the number of users in 2016 and beyond.”

Frank DeLucia, a Prudential Financial advisor based in Brookfield, Conn., has been with the firm since 2006 and initially just maintained a LinkedIn profile for networking and to have a presence for reactive inquiries. Over time, he’s expanded his social media efforts to Facebook as well and is more proactive by sharing useful, educational content and reaching out when his connections and contacts experience key life events.

“Social media is not the future, it’s here now and there’s no reason to not have a presence,” says DeLucia. “I know my efforts are paying off because people are seeing my content and asking questions. I’m also seeing new likes from people I don’t know.”

DeLucia says he has experienced significant new business and expansion of existing business that he can directly attribute to his continued presence on social media.

Certain social media activities have worked particularly well for DeLucia. For example, he checks in every day to wish people a happy birthday on Facebook, which is an easy way to stay top of mind. “Most days, that’s all I do,” he says.

LinkedIn continues to be a key business and networking driver for DeLucia. With more than 800 connections and growing, he says that reacting and responding to milestones such as job changes and promotions has been an efficient way to engage with contacts and deepen those professional relationships.

He also leverages the content provided by the Prudential team and publishes posts two to four times per week, usually scheduling them in advance. This not only saves him time, but he is assured that the content has been reviewed and approved by the company’s compliance team.

DeLucia’s success is not uncommon within the Prudential organization, says Chambers. “As a result of our social business program, our financial professionals have a more in-depth understanding of the value of social media and how easy it is to integrate into their business, all of which are important to their success and ability to serve the financial needs of their clients.”