By Ashley Watson, writer for dealnews How "liked" do you have to be to compete with the big guns on Facebook? Greg Bocquet of Mainstreet.com looked up all the major retailers that have Facebook pages and ranked them by the top ten most "liked". "We decided that businesses are discovering that social media has become an innovative way to promote themselves, and we wanted to know who had been more successful at doing that," he says. Using only the categories of brick-and-mortar locations of retailers and restaurants, here are the top 10 listed in reverse order, with their fan numbers as of Feb. 1. 10. Forever 21: 3, 973,181 9. Hollister Co.: 4,185,570 8. Lacoste: 4,494,849 7. Subway: 4,665,760 6. Taco Bell: 5,400,586 5. H&M: 6,117,222 4. McDonald's: 7,032,398 3. Zara: 7,925,184 2. Victoria's Secret: 11,302,939 1. Starbuck's: 19,414,892 Bocquet says he wasn't surprised by most of the results, except for how each of these companies earned their Facebook rank in "distinct and very different ways." For instance, Zara, coming in at number three doesn't offer any information about promotions or deals on their Facebook page, whereas Hollister, closer to the bottom of the list focuses its status updates on daily deals up to 50%. "We expected the most liked pages to be businesses that were aggressive about coupons and sales and accumulated fans by these means," Bocquet tells us, "but that wasn't always true. " What he found most interesting was to see the mix of food and clothing pages in the same list, adding "People obviously consume more food than clothing," he began, but then joked, "Well, on second thought, maybe that's not necessarily true." Regardless of which companies are liked the most, Bocquet argues that Facebook is also a way for companies to be more transparent and for consumers to feel as if they have a closer tie to their favorite places. Using sixth-place Taco Bell as an example, Bocquet points out that by using Facebook, the company can respond to the rumors about the recent lawsuit in a more open platform. No matter how a retailer uses Facebook, it's a smart move considering how many people view their friends’ pages and what they like every day. That's a ton of free advertising, and Bocquet only expects Facebook to grow. He even predicts "Facebook-only deals" in the near future. If that's the case, it looks like I may have to jump on that bandwagon after all. Ashley Watson received her MFA from Goddard College in January 2006. Upon completing her degree, she taught writing composition at the University of Arizona and began her career as a freelance writer. She is a contributor to the 2007 Teacher’s Guide to Living Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama, and she has published articles in various online and print magazines. She currently resides in Vermont. Photo Credit: Amazon.com.