"Education is critical," says Kirstin Simonson, underwriting director at New York-based insurer Travelers Global Technology, a division of The Travelers Cos. In a recent Travelers Global Technology survey of 2,000 adults, about one in eight of the respondents admitted to posting work-related information on social media sites, and two-thirds said their companies have no policies for addressing such issues.
Companies need to consider the potential impact of their presence on a social media network, and who that network might reach, says Simonson. They must make sure they have extended whatever corporate privacy and data-protection policies they have to address disclosure and reputational risks on social media, she adds.
Zappos' Magness says that in the end, it's all about the corporate culture and how much you trust your employees to do the right thing. "If you focus on maintaining the right people with the right attitude, then there shouldn't be much to fear" with social media, he says.
"The customer has access to all of the issues and the information," says Magness. "They are not listening to you telling them what you think your brand is. They are telling you what your brand is."