Since its launch in February 2004, Facebook has grown to reach out almost a billion people. By June 2012, it had about 955 million active users, with over half of them accessing Facebook services using mobile devices (Somini, 2012). In 2009, it was ranked the most used social media and was named best social network. By 2010, 41.6% of the US population had a Facebook account (Roy, 2010). After its promising start, Facebook became a popular acquisition of computer-related companies. In 2007, Microsoft purchased 1.6 percent of the Facebook shares at $240 million. The purchase gave Microsoft the rights to place international advertisements on the Facebook pages. This brought a new advertising idea to businesses as they opened up accounts to publicize their products. Retailers were among the Facebook users to advertise their products. This was fuelled by the growing internet use, the cheap nature of advertising, and the reach to a large and diverse group of people.

The retailers of the United States who embraced the idea of using Facebook in their internet strategies are listed in the table below with their account names.

Company

Facebook account name

American Eagle Outfitters [AEO]

American Eagle's Facebook Account

Benetton Group S.p.A. [BNGPY.PK]

Benetton's Facebook Account

Big Lots, Inc. [BIG]

Big Lots' Facebook Account

The Buckle [BKE}

The Buckle's Facebook Account

Children's Place [PLCE]

Children's Place Facebook Account

These companies are using Facebook to reach out to the people. They upload their photos and description of their products. Facebook offers the ‘share’ option which allows any Facebook user to send the details about the retailer to his or her friends. As the company pages are shared among more people, their products become widely known. This allows the people who see the products to consider the retailer any time they think of going shopping for related goods.

Retailers are also using the like option to popularize their products. People tend to go for the goods that have more likes since they perceive them to be appreciated more by the general public. This is, however, not the true reflection, because the retailers like their products to entice people to buy them. Over 55% of the total likes are done by the retailers in order to seek attention from the customers. Many customers tend to buy goods that have most likes. In this case, the retailers have succeeded to convince people that their goods are the best since they are liked more than their competitors’. According to Cialdini (2007), many people tend to follow the bandwagon, where everyone is going. When shopping, people are usually influenced by the tastes of their friends, and they feel that they should not be left behind by others. They, therefore, tend to consider goods that their friends like. This is why the more liked products in Facebook are more likely to get purchased than hose with less likes. In some cases, people are carried away by such adverts so as to feel a part of the team. This is even more common among the youths who are always ready to follow the path that their friends follow.

Once the advertisers knew this psychological effect of positive comments about a product, they took advantage and have capitalized on the ‘weaknesses’ of most shoppers. They have brought out a very interesting trend that has worked for them because most friends do not like a product not because they have experience of using it, but rather because other people like it. In the long run, people are buying goods based on a single parameter that is unproved and untested. Retailers are having an easy time in marketing and advertising.

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