Whether you are looking to make some extra cash from old items at home or planning to get more exposure for a new local business, you can always rely on social media to get things going. In today’s review, we are going to look at the mechanism of Facebook Marketplace and how you can utilize it to your advantage, so let’s dig into the details.
The Marketplace at a Glance
Having relaunched in October 2016, the platform is basically a social marketplace that allows people within the same locality to discover, buy and sell items online. This is what a user would typically see when they click on a product that they are interested to buy.
Basically, it’s a simple set up that provides relevant product information and tells a buyer what to do for further inquiries.
The marketplace feature is now accessible in many countries and can easily be found on the left-hand panel (desktop version) of one’s Facebook home page. If you are navigating on mobile, it would be the first thing you’d notice – a store icon – in the drop-down menu.
Who Should Use It
Anyone who is looking to sell gently used household or personal items OR local businesses looking to promote their products or services can use the marketplace to target a local community within a certain radius location. Other than the mentioned prohibited items, you can list almost anything for sale, ranging from electronics to properties.
However, keep in mind that Facebook doesn’t facilitate payment, or delivery services so the outcome of the sales is totally dependent on the communication between you and the buyer.
Research Your Product
Before listing a product, it’s worth checking what’s selling in the local marketplace first.
- Product Price – What’s the price range that is being offered by most sellers? You want to give people a comfortable budget and not over or underprice your product.
- Targeted Distance – How far are you willing to travel for delivery? 10km or 50km? This would be considered your cost for selling so try to minimize it whenever possible.
- Product Keywords – How should you describe your products so that they would appear prominently in front of a potential buyer? Use the marketplace search bar for suggestions as they reflect the popular keywords. For example, if you are selling a women’s red dress, you want to be more specific with the sizes as well because that’s what people are searching for.
When you have the information ready, click on the ‘Sell Something’ tab and a small window like the one below would show up. The layout is pretty similar to optimizing for an eCommerce setup, albeit basic.
The first line is where the product title would go with the keywords that you’ve researched – you have 100 characters for that. The second is the pricing and it would automatically sync with the currency of your location setting. Following that are the product categories and descriptions.
Even though it’s stated as optional, I would recommend providing as much information as possible here because this is basically a sales page that can be used to attract potential buyers so you don’t want to compromise on that.
The other thing you should do is to take good quality images – most smartphones can do a good job – from various angles (up to 10 shot maximum) and post directly from there instead of using the PC.
Once the information is filled out, go to the next window to select an audience. By default, the listing would show up on the general marketplace, but you can also allow it to be published on certain local buy/sell groups.
These groups can be discovered using the Facebook search bar by entering geo-targeted phrases such as ‘Toronto Buy and Sell Marketplace’. Keep in mind that this isn’t the same thing as the general marketplace – they are merely groups that are tagged under similar names.
After posting, you should be able to see your product listing within minutes and if it’s a hot item, you should also start getting views and inquiries fairly soon. To track the progress of an item, you can go to Marketplace > Selling to see how many times it has been viewed, mark as sold or refresh the listing after 7 days.
The Benefits of Selling in The Marketplace
There are many reasons to love about Facebook and when it comes to selling, there are a few plus points worth mentioning here.
- Unlike places like eBay, listing products in the marketplace is absolutely free and Facebook doesn’t charge a single cent from the sales that you make. That means you get to keep 100% of the profit.
- Since it’s a social platform, you can screen one’s profile (whether it’s a buyer or seller) to learn more about their backgrounds and gauge whether it’s safe to pursue further dealings with them. This is a stark difference from Craigslist whereby most identities are kept anonymous.
- The ability to post in certain groups allow sellers to target and engage with specific audiences. For local businesses, this can help to create brand awareness through free trials or consultations, especially if you are new to that area.
However, one should expect the following limitations when selling on the platform.
- Facebook doesn’t provide any service in terms of payment and delivery. It’s merely used for online exposure and communication. Hence, the closing of the deals should be done entirely by both parties in their own terms. In countries like the US, UK, and France, PayPal integration can be used to facilitate transactions via debit cards (not credit), but it’s still not a widely used feature.
- Due to the nature of communication, be prepared to get a lot of messages involving price negotiations, change of decisions as well as a no-show at the end of the day. This can be very frustrating situations, especially when you have turned down other potential buyers.
- Listing on a free marketplace can be a short-lived affair and it’s not uncommon for your items to disappear in the masses within minutes of posting. Since everyone has access to the marketplace feature, there’s a constant stream of new products being uploaded at any given time and you can only refresh your posting after 7 days.
So, Is Facebook Marketplace a Good Place to Sell?
If you are an active user of Facebook and knows the local community well, the marketplace is certainly worth trying for selling a small number of items. But if you are not getting a lot of responses, you may want to try posting on other local apps like Offer Up or Poshmark.
If you are a small business owner, consider setting up a Facebook Page and a business website, if you haven’t already done so. That way, you can optimize for local search results as well as cross-promote items using the product links that are auto-generated in the marketplace. Better yet, create an online store on your own website to build a larger following for your products or services.
Overall, Facebook is a great place to get exposure and for zero dollar commitment, I don’t see why it can’t be used to your advantage. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t rely on it entirely – instead, I think it should be used in conjunction with other online strategies if one is truly interested in long term money-making.
Hopefully, this review has shed some interesting facts about the marketplace and while we are on the topic, would you like to know more about the business of selling something successfully online? Then do check out this robust community for the latest tips and training. See you there!