By Erin Huffstetler | 01/26/2021 | 80 Comments
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Interested in selling some things on Facebook Marketplace? Here’s how to set up a listing, plus my best tips to help you increase your chance of making a sale.
What is Facebook Marketplace?
Facebook Marketplace is a selling platform that’s built into Facebook. It allows you to buy and sell items in your local community without fees. If you want to get your item in front of a larger audience, you can also offer to ship them. Facebook collects a small fee for these types of transactions (currently 5%). In return, they process the payment and offer protection for the buyer and seller. You can use your own shipping label to mail the item, or they’ll create a shipping label and e-mail it to you. As much as credit card processing costs, this is a very reasonable transaction fee.
Please note that Facebook Marketplace is NOT the same things as Facebook Groups. With Facebook Groups, you have to go through the hassle of finding local buying/selling groups in your area and the further hassle of asking to join. With Facebook Marketplace, you just put a free classified listing together, and send it live. Easy!
How Selling on Facebook Marketplace Works
To create a listing on Facebook Marketplace, just click on the little Marketplace icon in the Facebook app, or on the left-hand side of the website. It looks like a little shop.
Then, click on the “Create New Listing” button.
It’ll ask you to choose whether you want to sell an item, sell a vehicle, list a home for rent or list a job opening. Once you’ve selected the appropriate option, upload some photos of the item you’re selling (you can add up to 10), and fill in all the required fields.
It’ll ask you to enter a title, description, price and your location (It just needs your city, not your street address). It’ll also ask you to assign your item to a category, and to list its condition. The “tag” field is optional, but I recommend filling it out. It just wants a list of keywords, or terms, that people might use to search for this particular item. Taking the time to fill this out field will help to put your item in front of more potential byers.
Use the preview pane to double check your work. If you’re happy with the way everything looks, hit “publish.” Local listings are completely free on Facebook Marketplace, so you won’t have to pay any sort of listing or selling fee. Pretty sweet!
As soon as Facebook verifies that your listing meets their guidelines, they’ll send it live.
Your listing will be viewable to anyone within 100 miles of you, and will only show the information that you’ve chosen to make public in your Facebook profile. People will NOT be able to see your address or phone number, unless you’ve chosen to put those things in your profile (don’t do that).
If someone is interested in your listing, they can message you through Facebook to ask questions or check availability.
If you’re viewing Facebook on your computer, you’ll hear a chime, when a message comes in. Then, it’ll pop-up up on your screen.
You’ll hear a similar chime alerting you to an incoming message, if you’re using the Facebook Messenger app on your phone.
All communications will remain on Facebook, unless you choose to take the conversation elsewhere.
My Experience Selling on Facebook Marketplace
This listing received 178 views, and 12 inquiries. It sold 14 days after I listed it, and received close to the full asking price.
I first tried Facebook Marketplace back in 2018, when my friends asked for help selling their Kubota RTV. Since then, I’ve bought, and sold, all sorts of things on Marketplace, including cars, clothes, work equipment and housewares.
It’s proven to be a fairly easy way to find the things I need, and to sell the things I no longer need.
Since the pandemic is currently keeping me from having a yard sale, or participating in a kids’ consignment sale, I’m now using Facebook Marketplace more than ever, and I’ve challenged myself to see if I can earn $1,000 this year, by selling the stuff that I would normally sell in person.
Update: I surpassed my goal! So far, I’ve earned $1,089, and I still have a bunch of stuff to sell. I feel like I’ve learned a ton about what it takes to be successful on Marketplace, by doing this.
How to Increase Your Chance of Making a Sale on Facebook Marketplace
Success on Facebook Marketplace starts with a good listing. Eye-catching photos are a big part of that. Marketplace allows you to upload up to 10 pictures, so be sure to take advantage of that. Take pictures of the item from several angles, so buyers can see what the item looks like, and accurately assess condition.
Don’t copy and paste manufacturer’s promotional photos from another website. Buyers won’t like it, and it’s copyright infringement.
The first picture will be used as the thumbnail picture in search, so make sure it’s a good one. Too many of the photos on Marketplace are blurry, dark or poorly staged. That’s a sales killer. Put a bit of effort into your photos, and your stuff will stand out (in a good way) and sell faster.
Choose a title for your listing that clearly states what you’re selling, and uses keywords that a buyer might use to search for the item. If I’m listing a clothing item, for example, I include the brand, the type of clothing, the size and the gender in the title. Here’s the title I used recently on a listing that sold less than an hour after I posted it:
2 Under Armour Tops – Womens’ Large
Doesn’t that give you a pretty clear idea of what I’m selling, before you even click on the listing?
And when paired with this photo, you probably know whether or not your interested in buying, before you even click through to read my description, or see the other photos.
You have one chance to grab a customer’s attention, before they scroll past your listing, so don’t waste it.
The Marketplace listing tool suggests categories based on what you put in the title field. If the suggested categories don’t seem like a good fit for your item, it’s probably a pretty good indication that you need to go back and rework your title. If you’re listing a pair of womens’ pants, for example, and it’s suggesting the “mens’ pants” category, go back and add the word “womens'” to your listing.
The description is your chance to tell buyers everything they need to know about the item you’re selling, so try to answer all the questions they’re likely to have. If you do a good job, you’ll field fewer questions via Messenger.
I learned this the hard way, when I listed the Kubota RTV for my friends. Lots of people wanted to know if it was two or four-wheel drive, and whether it was gas or diesel-powered. They were obvious questions that I had failed to answer in my description, so I found myself answering them over and over. If you find you’ve overlooked an important detail, like I did, go back and edit your listing. It’ll save you a bunch of work.
When I write a description, I repeat a lot of the same information from the title, but with more detail. Here are some things I typically mention:
- Size – (this could mean listing the clothing size, but it could also mean listing which vehicle(s) or tool(s) a particular part fits
- Color and Style
- Gender – (if it’s gender-specific)
- Condition – Does it work? Is it damaged in any way? Is it dented, scratched, peeling, pilling, or stained? Does it have any holes? Is it missing any parts? Is it new with tags (NWT)? Is it new-without-tags (NWOT)?
- Special features – Does it come with extra accessories or options? Is it handmade, one-of-a-kind or limited-edition? If you’re selling clothes, is it a hard-to-find size? (slim or husky, for example) Does it have an adjustable waistband?
- Any special terms – Right now I’m only offering contactless porch pick-ups, so I state that in every listing. If you have a set meet spot, you could also mention that. It’ll help you to weed out people who aren’t close by, or willing to meet/pickup at your preferred location.
Here’s the description that I used to sell some of my kids jeans:
2 Pairs of Jeans Juniors Size 00
2 pairs of Juniors size 00 jeans:
(1) pair American Eagle, bootcut
(1) pair Abercrombie Perfect Stretch, skinny jeans
Both in good condition. No holes or wear at the knees. $8 for both. Contactless porch pick-up only.
See how I listed the brands and cut of each pair, so I wouldn’t have to answer those questions over and over? And how I mentioned that the jeans didn’t have any holes or knee wear, so potential buyers would know exactly what I meant by good condition? These details saved me and my potential buyers from countless rounds of messaging.
By the time the jeans sold, the listing had received 174 views, and I had received messages from eight interested buyers. And you know what? No one asked about the cut or condition of the jeans because I had covered those things well in my listing.
The tags field is optional, but don’t skip it. This important field gives you an opportunity to provide Facebook with a list of all the keywords that you think buyer’s are likely to use to search for the item you’re selling.
Here are the tags I used for a pair of womens’ golf shoes that I’m currently selling:
- womens golf shoes
- golf shoes
- adidas size 9
- golf shoes womens 9
- Adidas golf shoes
This gives buyers a chance to find the shoes by the type, size, gender or brand. You may have noticed that I left some apostrophes out of my tags. I did this intentionally because I think it’s more likely that people are going to search for “womens golf shoes” than “womens’ golf shoes” or “women’s golf shoes.” If you think they might use all three, add them all to your list of tags. It certainly won’t hurt.
Managing Your Live Listings
When someone tells me they’re going to buy an item, I don’t mark it as “pending” or “sold,” until it actually gets picked up. People don’t always follow through, so this allows me to continue to generate sales leads, until I have money in hand. If someone inquires about an item after I’ve lined up a potential sale, I tell them that someone is supposed to pick up the item, and offer to let them know if that falls through. This gives me a built-in back-up plan, and has paid off on several occasions. This approach also allows me to continue to build listing views, so if an item is popular, Facebook will see that, and hopefully rank it higher.
Facebook allows you to renew a listing five times. This brings it back to the top of the pile, and gets it in front of more potential buyers. The interface will start suggesting that you renew your listing after it’s been live for a week, but I don’t typically renew it so soon. My experience has shown that a little patience pays off on Facebook. So, I wait at least a couple weeks before renewing my listings. Some items will sell right away on Marketplace, others may take some time, and that’s okay with me. It’s not like a yard sale or an auction, where I have a limited window of time to sell. I’m okay with sitting on something for a little while, if it allows me to convert it to cash. So, don’t be disheartened, if you don’t sell everything the first week. My husband just sold a car part that he’d had listed for several months, and he got his full asking price.
How to Earn Ratings and Badges
Facebook uses a five-star rating system to rate sellers. Once you’ve received five ratings your ratings will be visible to buyers. Practice good customer service habits, so you earn good ratings.
There are also two seller badges that you can earn to boost buyer confidence. One is a “very responsive badge.” To earn it, you need to respond to most messages within an hour. The other badge is the “community recommended badge.” I have that one, but had no idea how I’d earned it, so I did some digging in their Marketplace policies, and found that the only thing they said about it was that it’s not a feature that’s available to everyone. Guess that means I’m in a club that’s so mysterious I don’t know how I got into it. If I had to guess, I would say it’s a hold over from their old rating system.
Why Didn’t Facebook Marketplace Accept My Listing?
Recently when I was listing a bunch of my kids’ clothes, one of my listings wasn’t approved, and I received a message that “This listing may go against our rules for selling.” Yikes that sounded scary. When I clicked on the listing for more information, it said, “This listing goes against our rules on misleading products.” Gulp, now that really sounded scary. And it’s at this point that I should pause and tell you that I was just trying to sell a winter coat from a popular name-brand that rhymes with Bommy Bilfiger.
It suggested that I review their commerce policies, so I did that, and I couldn’t find anything that would make my listing unacceptable. So, I took them up on their suggestion to request a review, if I thought they’d gotten it wrong. I just figured someone had accidentally clicked the wrong button, while they were going through a billion listings. Imagine my surprise then, when less than 24 hours later, I was informed that my appeal had been denied. I was perplexed, and also a little worried about angering the Facebook gods. I have a business account with over 21K followers attached to the my personal Facebook account, so I didn’t want to accidentally misstep, and lose my account, over some outgrown kids’ clothes that I was trying to sell.
I listed some more things, cautiously at first. Then, I got to another item from that brand that rhymes with Bommy Bilfiger, and guess what? That item got denied for the same reason. This at least gave me a clearer picture of what was likely going on. I surmised that they were probably just denying all items from that particular brand because said brand was overly-protective of their trademarked name (which is certainly their right). I took to the interwebs to test this theory, and sure enough, I found lots of people who’d had items from Bommy Bilfiger and other super-namey brands rejected. So, while I can’t conclusively prove that this is why my item was rejected, it seems plausible. If you run into this issue, just put the item aside, and list something else. They’re probably just trying to protect themselves from a legal storm, and who can blame them?
How to Navigate Facebook Marketplace Like a Pro
Facebook has made it very easy to list items for sale, but some of the other seller tools on Marketplace aren’t so intuitive. Here are the hidden features, and tricks, that I’ve uncovered to make selling on Facebook easier:
- When you click on “You Account” it brings up a list of all the items you’re selling, or have recently sold. The listings don’t look clickable, but if you click on the white background, it’ll open up a menu where you can click to view the listing, delete the listing, grab a shareable link and see all the messages you’ve received pertaining to that item. I use this handy feature to grab links when I have a buyer who’s purchasing a similar item, and I think they may be interested in one of my other listings. I also use it to see who’s next in line for an item when a sale falls through, or to find a message that I accidentally closed.
- If buyers click on your commerce profile, they can view all of the items that you’re currently selling. This gives you an easy way to point customers to other relevant items, if they’re shopping for a specific brand or size.
- When you send someone a message via Messenger it puts a little gray circle with a check mark to the right of the message, to show that it’s been delivered. Once the person has viewed it, the circle changes to their profile picture.
- When I’m using the desktop version of Facebook Marketplace, I’ve found that I don’t always get a chime or a pop-up message, when someone sends me a message. So, I also keep an eye on the top navigation bar for any messages or notifications. These bugs don’t seem to be an issue in the Facebook app, so you may want to just use your phone to monitor your listings. There’s a new desktop app version of Facebook Marketplace, but I haven’t tested it yet. That may be another workaround for these bugs.
How to Stay Safe Selling on Facebook Marketplace (and Avoid Getting Scammed)
- Check your Facebook profile to see what information is public. Make any necessary adjustments to your privacy settings, before you list anything.
- Only accept cash for your items. This will help you to stay clear of any check, money order, gift card and PayPal scams. It also doesn’t hurt to get one of those markers that checks for fake bills.
- Only ship items, if Facebook is handling the payment process for you. A popular online scam is to cancel payment, after the item is already in transit.
- Always check out a potential buyer’s profile before you accept a deal. This can help you determine if they really are local, and even if you have mutual friends.
- Meet in a public place. We like to meet at our local police station, and always call to let dispatch know we’re coming. Be sure to bring someone with you, and to arrange your meet-up during daylight hours.
- Don’t give out any personal information that isn’t necessary. Buyers don’t need to know where you live, who you live with or anything else about you.
Why I like Facebook Marketplace Better Than Craigslist
Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are similar in that they both offer free online classifieds. However, I like Facebook Marketplace better for a couple reasons. First, since all the communications stay on Facebook, you don’t have to deal with a bunch of spammy e-mails in your inbox. And second: since buyers have to be Facebook members to message you, you can look at their profiles to get an idea of whom you’re dealing with (and whether you might have friends in common). This helps to weed out the scammers and weirdos.
Since you can also list yard sales on Facebook Marketplace, it’s safe to say that my husband and I are done with trying to sell things on Craigslist.
Have You Bought or Sold Anything on Facebook Marketplace?
I’d love to hear about your experience, plus how you think Marketplace compares to other online selling options.