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11 Retailers You Should Be Following on Facebook

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- It's easy to see why retailers love Facebook. The top companies are able to amass a following of millions of fans, and that provides an incredible opportunity to communicate directly with customers and tell them about company news and new products. Of course, few people will sign up for a Facebook feed if it seems like little more than a glorified public relations release, so the smart retailers have figured out that if they want to attract fans, they need to offer up some deals.

Meanwhile, consumers usually want to limit the number of companies they follow to keep their feed from getting cluttered, ideally targeting retailers with a good ratio of deals to other, less useful content.

Do you want a Quizno's sub? Do you want it right now? Then follow the chain on Facebook -- it gets you a free meal.

"People don't want to 'like' every store they shop at, because look at what it does to your news feed," says Jon Lal of BeFrugal.com. "You go on Facebook to connect with friends and family."

So if you want to get in on the deal train, which retailers should you be "liking" on Facebook? To find out, we checked out which retailers offer the best deals and the least amount of noise:

Banana Republic and Old Navy
The three major Gap(GPS) brands -- Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic -- are well known for their frequent deals, usually taking the form of printable coupons and coupon codes. And if you'd rather not subscribe to their email newsletters or visit their Web sites every day, following them on Facebook is a good strategy.

Each brand approaches their deals a little differently. Banana Republic is probably best for coupons, offering a coupon code or printable coupon approximately once a week; it also stands out for being relatively circumspect about how often it bombards its followers with posts about new products and company news. Old Navy , meanwhile, posts more often and tends to advertise in-store sales and promotions rather than coupons.

As for the flagship brand, color us unimpressed with Gap's Facebook feed, which is big on company news and pictures of new products but relatively light on deals. Unless you're a big fan of the store, we'd pass on this one.

Wal-Mart(WMT)
The big kahuna of big retail doesn't have the best deal-to-noise ratio -- to find the deals you'll need to sift through a lot of recipes, company news and simple product promotions. But the deals are still fairly frequent. Last week, for instance, there was a two-pack of eyebrow razors for $5, and the week before that they tipped us off that you could get kitchen utensils for 88 cents apiece in stores.