Everything You Need to Know About Selling on Facebook
We show you how to sell on Facebook, complete with tips for a quick and easy sale plus how Facebook stacks up to the competition
Thinking about selling on Facebook? Compare Facebook to other options and sell your stuff fast (and safe) with these Facebook selling tips.
- How to sell on Facebook
- Optimize your Facebook listing
- Staying safe
- How does Facebook compare to other options?
- Should you sell on Facebook?
How to sell on Facebook
There are three primary ways to sell on Facebook:
Post your stuff for sale as you would any other content. It will be seen by your Facebook friends and anyone they share it with, provided your security settings allow it. This is probably the simplest option, but it offers the least exposure for your listing.
Search for local buy-and-sell groups, which typically go by names like “YOUR LOCATION rummage sale” and “YOUR LOCATION auction.” You can also find regional, national and worldwide niche groups like “DVD buy-sell-trade.” Join several groups (you might need to wait for admin approval), then post your ad. Groups have various rules, but in general you can post on the group page and make a special “for sale” post that includes additional fields such as price.
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Facebook groups allow you to cross-post to other groups as well as the Facebook Marketplace, which saves you the time of manually reposting it on each individual group. It also significantly increases your exposure.
Post an item for sale on Facebook Marketplace to be included on browsable, searchable classifieds listings. It’s the central hub for local Facebook buy-sell ads. Like groups, Facebook Marketplace allows you to cross-post on multiple groups as well as your own news feed with a single post.
Which should you use? Typically, Facebook Marketplace is the best choice since it makes cross-posting easy and allows you to add additional information that can help buyers find your items.
Optimize your Facebook listing
Use these tips to increase your chances of a quick and easy sale.
Write a descriptive, attention-getting title
Instead of simply naming your item, write a descriptive title that excites potential buyers. For example, don’t just title your post “iPhone 8.” Instead, write “iPhone 8 64GB space gray Verizon in great condition.” Facebook Marketplace lets you use up to 100 characters for your title, so make them count.
Did you know? Many phones are worth $100+. Find the value of your phone.
Write a full description
Facebook Marketplace offers ample space to write a detailed description. Use it to include keywords people might use as search terms, which can increase the number of potential buyers who view your listing. Think about what buyers are looking for and what they want to know, then list that information so it can be quickly read and understood. Examples include size, color, condition, make and model, item history and anything else buyers might want to know.
You should also include additional perks, such as included accessories, plus any terms of sale like meeting times and locations.
Select the right category and filters
Proper categorization can make it easier for targeted buyers to find your listing. You should also fill out any additional fields so buyers can find your item with Facebook Marketplace filters. For example, car buyers can filter by vehicle type, body style, make, model, year, mileage and transmission type. Furniture buyers can filter by room, type and use. The more information you provide, the more likely buyers are to find you.
Set appropriate pricing
Naturally, buyers are interested in getting the biggest bang for the buck. If you set a low price, you might be able to sell your item fast. If you set a high price, it might not sell at all. It might be difficult to get fair market value, since some users are accustomed to paying lower-than-market prices on Facebook.
If you want to sell fast and still get a fair price, determine the lowest offer you will accept. Then, set your price 15 to 20 percent higher. That way, you’ll have wiggle room for negotiations, and everyone walks away feeling as though they got a good deal.
Add photos of your item that clearly depict its features and accurately represent its condition, even if it’s damaged. Upload pictures taken from multiple angles so buyers know exactly what they’re getting. Don’t post stock photos you find online, which do not accurately represent your item. Try using a clean, white background to make your photos more attractive, and check out these tips for taking professional product shots to help your item stand out.
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No platform is better at encouraging shares than Facebook. Encourage friends to share your listing and tag others they think will be interested. A gentle nudge is often all it takes to quickly multiply the number of shares you receive and enjoy the resulting exposure.
Answer questions preemptively
Avoid spending a lot of time fielding questions about your item by answering them before they’re asked. Simply add a quick FAQ in your description.
Sweeten the deal
If you can sweeten the deal you might be able to command higher offers and earn quick sales. For example, you might have a case to go along with your iPhone or some cool aftermarket headphones; if so, you can offer to throw them in if a buyer pays by a certain date or time.
Should you advertise?
If you want to maximize your exposure, you can take out Facebook ads. For as little as $5, you can boost your Facebook Marketplace listing to hundreds of demographically targeted local users. However, chances are you can sell your item via groups or Marketplace without paying for advertising.
Once you’ve accepted an offer, you need to plan your transaction. Note that Facebook does not offer support for sales unless you use its payment processing system. Otherwise, you’re on your own. Stay safe with these tips:
- Vet the buyer: Check out the buyer’s Facebook profile, which can often lend insight into the type of person you’re selling to
- Meet in a safe place: Meet in a well-lit, busy public place. Some police departments have set up locations for this purpose
- Take a friend: Have a friend along just in case things go awry, and be sure to tell another friend what you’re doing and when you will check in
- Accept cash only or get paid first: Do not accept checks, and make sure you have cash in-hand before turning over your item. Alternatively, you could allow the buyer to pre-pay via Facebook Pay, PayPal or a similar service – but keep in mind they could always file a claim to try to get a refund. If you sell and ship to buyers, use a payment platform that offers protection for sellers (though it’s still possible to get scammed via buyer protection policies on Facebook, PayPal and other payment services)
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How does selling on Facebook compare to other options?
There are six major factors to consider when weighing Facebook versus other selling options:
- Selling price and fees
- Speed of sale
- Guarantee of sale
Here’s how Facebook stacks up to Craigslist and eBay.
Selling price and fees
Like Craigslist, you might be able to get close to market value for your item on Facebook. That’s because the buyer is probably the end user and there are no middlemen to pay. eBay is similar; however, it has selling fees and PayPal fees that reduce your take. That said, eBay’s auction format could drive the price up to cover your fees.
Speed of sale and guarantee of sale
It’s possible to sell quickly on Facebook – sometimes in mere minutes. However, there is no guarantee of sale and it’s possible your listing will languish for eternity. In that regard it’s like eBay and Craigslist. For some items, such as phones, you might be better off selling to an online buyback store that offers instant, guaranteed sales.
You’ll likely enjoy excellent exposure for your listing on Facebook. However, that exposure is not necessarily targeted, so a lot of people who see your listing will not be interested (though they might know someone who is).
On Craigslist and eBay, buyers tend to actively search for what they want, so your exposure is well-targeted. The same can be said of Facebook Marketplace, so overall Facebook probably offers better exposure than some other options. One caveat: that exposure is limited only to those who have Facebook accounts.
Unless you accept Facebook payments, you’re on your own. That means you’ll need to negotiate a deal, arrange to meet the buyer in person and/or ship your items. You’ll also need to create a detailed listing and upload photos. In those regards it’s like Craigslist and eBay. Of course, if you sell to someone you know Facebook could be the most convenient of the three. Still, it’s not necessarily the most convenient selling option available, especially for items like phones that can be sold to online buyback stores without the need to create a detailed listing.
As stated, once you sell on Facebook you’ll need to arrange to meet the buyer in person or to ship your item to them. That’s like Craigslist and eBay, with the exception that Facebook at least makes it possible to vet buyers by viewing their profiles.
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The potential for Facebook Marketplace scams still exists: examples include an Indiana woman who unwittingly bought a non-working refrigerator, and a North Carolina man who paid 50% down for a Nintendo Switch – and the seller didn’t show. In those cases, buyers were scammed; however, accounts of eBay scammers who have exploited PayPal’s buyer protection policies to rip off sellers suggest the same could be done on Facebook – especially if you accept a non-cash form of payment or sell and ship to buyers.
Should you sell on Facebook?
There are several pros to selling on Facebook, including:
- Excellent exposure
- Sell to people you know and trust
- You can trade instead of selling, if you’d like
- You might get close to market value (though it’s not guaranteed)
However, there are a few potential drawbacks:
- No guarantee of sale
- Your listing could take a long time to sell
- You might have to endure a lot of haggling and back-and-forth messaging
- There is always a risk of no-shows and scams
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether Facebook is the best place to sell your stuff. If you’re willing to wait it out and negotiate, if required, Facebook is a good option – and you’ll almost certainly make a quick sale if you price below market value.
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