by Alex Palmer | August 01, 2011
Bosses might want to think twice about keeping their employees off Facebook during work hours. The new Social Media Mgr Facebook app from Taraci Motivation aims to bring the engagement and peer recognition of traditional incentive programs into the social media age.

Through their Facebook pages, employees can log into the Taraci merchandise catalog, where they can browse award categories like cameras, electronics, gift cards and travel. But unlike a standard catalog, the Social Media Mgr allows visitors to “like” items or leave their comments about them, perhaps mentioning that they want the product once they get enough points or that they already won it.

This information can be shared on the individual’s Facebook wall, where friends and family can see it and comment. The "likes" and comments on the catalog itself also allow employees to see what peers in the program are saying about the awards.

“It makes the experience of shopping an online catalog a social one,” says Tom Taraci, founder of Taraci Motivation. “If you’re sending a gift to someone or bragging to a coworker, there’s this added component that’s going to get the employees more interested than they might otherwise have been. The interplay between employee, manager, and administrator is now much more dynamic.”

Those who have earned enough points can add the items to their baskets and check out. They get email confirmations once their redemptions are processed, much like a traditional online catalog. (For those who prefer to redeem their awards without social media, the catalog can still be accessed through a standard browser, as well).

The Taraci app allows a company to make its program as public or private as it desires and to use the postings its employees put on their Facebook walls to drive traffic to both its program page and corporate Facebook fan page.

Social Media Mgr is the first major corporate incentive app on Facebook, and, according to Taraci, a few large companies will be using the app with their programs launching in the fall. With individuals spending nearly a quarter of their online time on social networks according to media research firm Nielsen, Taraci believes that incorporating incentives into this part of employees’ lives is only going to get bigger.

“You are trying to engage people with incentive programs, and nothing is more powerful at engaging people right now than Facebook,” he says.