Selling an iPhone on Facebook and the Facebook Marketplace, Reviewed
Want to sell your iPhone? How does Facebook and its new Marketplace compare to Craigslist, Amazon, carriers, and trade-in companies?
Thinking about selling your iPhone on Facebook? Before you do, you should consider your options – both on Facebook and on competing platforms like Craigslist, Amazon, carriers, and trade-in companies. Here, Flipsy.com compares your selling options on Facebook (including the new Marketplace) versus other outlets to help you get the best deal for your iPhone.
- How to sell your iPhone on Facebook
- Optimize your Facebook listing
- Staying safe
- How does selling an iPhone on Facebook compare to other options?
- Facebook versus the world: Real-life price examples
- Should you sell your iPhone on Facebook?
How to sell your iPhone on Facebook
There are three primary ways to sell your iPhone on Facebook:
Post your iPhone for sale as you would any other content. Your post will be seen by your Facebook friends and anyone they share it with, provided your security settings allow it. This is probably the easiest option, but it also 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.” Join several groups (you might have to wait for admin approval), then post your ad. You can post on the group page and additionally make a special “for sale” post that includes additional fields such as price.
The great thing about posting in Facebook groups is you can choose to also post your “for sale” listing in other groups as well as Facebook Marketplace, which saves you the time of manually reposting it multiple times while significantly increasing your listing’s exposure.
The newcomer to the Facebook party, Marketplace lets you post your iPhone ad to be viewed by other local Marketplace users. Its aim is to be a central hub for local Facebook buy-sell ads. Currently, Facebook Marketplace is only available on mobile phone versions of iOS and Android, but desktop and tablet versions are in the works.
Which should you use? There are no rules against cross-posting, so the best strategy is to earn the most exposure by posting on all three. It’s free, after all – just start with a group so you can post in multiple groups as well as Marketplace all at once.
Optimize your Facebook listing
If you decide to sell your iPhone on Facebook, these tips can help:
Write a descriptive, attention-getting title
Instead of simply posting your phone as an “iPhone,” tell buyers about the device – and include a benefit or unique selling proposition if possible: “iPhone 6 16GB space gray Verizon in great condition” is an example.
Write a full description
Use keywords people will use as search terms in groups and Marketplace so they can find your listing easier. Think about what buyers want to know and list that information so it can be quickly read and understood. Be sure to include:
- Make (Apple)
- Model (iPhone 6)
- Capacity (16GB)
- Color (space gray)
- Carrier (Verizon)
- Condition (read this guide to iPhone conditions so you can accurately describe yours)
- Included accessories (charger, headphones, etc.)
In addition, your description should tell people why you’re selling it (perhaps to upgrade to a new model) and any history they should be aware of (like if it spent an afternoon at the bottom of your pool).
Post photos of your iPhone from the front and back, at minimum. It’s also a good idea to snap a photo with the screen on to prove it works. If there is damage, make sure you depict that as well. Use a clean, white background to make your photo more attractive. Here are additional tips for taking professional product shots that can make your iPhone stand out from competing listings.
Set appropriate pricing
Not sure how to price your iPhone? Use Flipsy.com’s free private market value assessment to see what it’s currently selling for in the real world (on sites like Craigslist and Ebay).
If you set your price at market value, you’re offering a fair deal at a price you can expect to receive by selling directly to another person; however, many Facebook users are seeking lower-than-market prices. 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.
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 answering questions about your iPhone 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 after-market headphones; if so, you can offer to throw them in if you have a buyer 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 broadcast your listing to hundreds of demographically-targeted local users. You’ll need a Facebook page to take full advantage of this feature. However, chances are you can sell your iPhone via groups or Marketplace without paying for advertising.
Once you’ve accepted an offer, you need to plan your transaction. Unlike some selling options, like trade-in companies and Ebay, Facebook does not offer support for sales. 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: One great place is outside your local carrier, since it’s public and the buyer can instantly set up wireless service immediately after the sale
- 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
- Protect your data: Before you meet to complete your sale, be sure to completely erase your iPhone and reset it to factory settings. This is the only way you can ensure the buyer won’t gain access to your personal and financial data
- Accept cash only: Do not accept checks, and make sure you have cash in-hand before turning over your iPhone. Alternatively, you could allow the buyer to pre-pay via PayPal or a similar service
How does selling an iPhone on Facebook compare to other options?
There are five major factors to consider when weighing Facebook versus other iPhone selling options:
- Selling price and fees
- Speed of sale
- Guarantee of sale
Here’s how Facebook stacks up to Craigslist, Ebay, carriers like Verizon, and trade-in companies:
Selling price and fees
Like Craigslist, you can often get close to market value for your iPhone on Facebook. That’s because the buyer is probably the end user and there are no middlemen to pay. Ebay is similar, though it has selling fees that reduce your take. Carriers and trade-in companies will not offer as much for your device, as they refurbish and resell iPhones and need to account for a profit margin.
Speed of sale and guarantee of sale
It’s possible to sell an iPhone 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 similar to Ebay and Craigslist, while carriers and trade-in companies offer immediate, guaranteed sales.
If you have lots of friends, post on Marketplace, or post in groups with large memberships, you’ll enjoy great 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 be actively searching for what they want, so your exposure is well-targeted. Carriers and trade-in companies offer extremely-targeted exposure, given the guaranteed sales they offer.
Similar to Craigslist, once you sell your iPhone on Facebook you’re on your own. You’ll have to negotiate a deal, then arrange to meet with the buyer in-person. Thus, while listing is convenient completing your transaction might not be near as simple. On Ebay, you don’t have to meet in person, but you will need to handle shipping. Carriers and trade-in companies offer the greatest convenience, as they offer free shipping labels and, often, complete shipping kits so you don’t even need to leave your house to complete your transaction.
Selling an iPhone on Facebook: Options compared
|Near market value||Depends||None||Excellent||Least convenient|
|Craigslist||Near market value||Depends||None||Good||Least convenient|
|Ebay||Near market value||Depends||None||Targeted||Moderate convenience|
|Carriers||Under market value||Instant||Yes||Targeted||Greatest convenience|
|Trade-in Companies||Under market value but greater than carriers||Instant||Yes||Extremely targeted||Greatest convenience|
Facebook versus the world: Real-life price examples
Here are some recent examples of “sold” prices for a 16GB iPhone 6 in space gray on the Verizon network:
- Facebook: Three recent sales were for $200, $250, and $300, respectively
- Private market value: (Craigslist, Ebay): $296
- Trade-in companies (via Flipsy.com): $$228
- Carriers: $171 (Verizon), $150 (AT&T), $83 (Sprint), $137 (T-Mobile)
Should you sell your iPhone on Facebook?
There are several pros to selling your iPhone on Facebook, including:
- Excellent exposure
- You can sell to people you know and trust
- You can trade instead of selling, if you’d like
- You might be able to get market value for your iPhone (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
- It’s not as convenient as other options, like selling to trade-in companies
- There is always a risk of no-shows
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether Facebook is the best place to sell your iPhone. If you’re willing to wait it out and negotiate, if required, Facebook could be a good option – and you’ll almost certainly make a quick sale if you price below market value. However, if you’re seeking a quick, guaranteed sale and value not having to deal with inconveniences, finding the highest-paying trade-in offer via Flipsy.com might be a better option.
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