Social networking has been shaping online retail for some time, but Facebook fan pages are emerging as the new popular promotion tool. Representation on other sites such as MySpace and YouTube show a presence of 26 or 27 percent of respondents from a Vovici poll of US Online Retailers in August, 2008. For Facebook, the representation reached to nearly one-third. A September 2008 study by Rosetta, via eMarketer , focused on the top 100 online retailers in the US. Of these, 59 had a fan page on Facebook, up from 30 in May. Since then, of the 29 retailers that had built pages were companies such as Best Buy, Toys 'R' Us, Kohl's and Wal-Mart.

“Social media sites continue to be an important source of community connection, and savvy retailers are reaping the benefits of Facebook’s rapid extension into new demographics, such as Gen X and seniors,” said Adam Cohen, partner with Rosetta’s consumer goods and retail practice, in an interview with eMarketer.

While the Facebook demographic provides an entryway for new customers, Cohen says that thought and strategy should be put into the pages before posting them. “It’s important that retailers don’t just slap up a page because everyone is talking about Facebook.”

As Facebook already has personalized advertisements for users, this structure could quickly become overwelming for individuals. It seems possible that the monetizing ads could become more tightly integrated into the retail pages, especially as the sluggish economy pulls more companies onto Facebook as a means of cheap self-promotion.

Becoming more familiar with what Razorfish calls the "connected consumer," an individual who spent at least two hundred dollars in the last year, will pay off for these companies. Nearly all connected consumers use community sites, and 76 percent of them do not mind seeing ads on these sites, specifically.