In 2016, Facebook launched Marketplace — the social media giant’s version of a virtual classifieds feature. Facebook is known for its innovation and for using user data to make improvements to their platform, and the way they have approached selling on Facebook Marketplace is no different.
In its infancy, Facebook Marketplace was just a section on the site where people could list personal items for sale, and friends or group members could engage with the post if they were interested. Now, the new Facebook Marketplace has expanded to allow users and businesses to sell vehicles, hire service providers, and list real estate. Additionally, they allow any user within 100 miles to see your post.
Facebook is even flirting with a promotion feature to increase the visibility of listings. If you are an entrepreneur, you should definitely consider using Facebook Marketplace, and here’s why.
What is Facebook Marketplace?
Facebook Marketplace is a place for buyers and sellers of local goods or services to interact. Besides personal items, the platform also allows entrepreneurs or small businesses to manage selling on Facebook Marketplace. You can list your eCommerce products, professional home services or home rental, for example.
If you run a local business, selling on Facebook Marketplace provides an excellent opportunity. You can list items for sale on the world’s largest social networking site — for free.
What Facebook Marketplace is not
Currently, Facebook Marketplace only enables the buying and selling of goods or services — it doesn’t facilitate the transaction or physical exchange. In other words, Facebook Marketplace is a great place to list goods and find items to purchase, but you cannot actually pay for the item via the Marketplace interface, and Facebook does not offer protection to the buyer or seller.
They seem to be using this platform as an opportunity to better understand buyer behavior and purchasing patterns, without taking on much of the risks that come with running a retailer or peer-to-peer exchange like eBay. The good news about selling on Facebook Marketplace they are not taking any percentage of the sale.
How do you list an item for sale on Facebook Marketplace?
Selling on Facebook Marketplace could not be easier:
- Log into Facebook and navigate to the Marketplace.
- Click Sell Something in the navigational panel.
- Select whether you are selling an item, selling a vehicle or listing a rental property.
- Choose a category, add a title, pick a price and select a location.
- Write a description of what you are selling.
- Add photos.
After you complete the process, your item will become visible to users within 100 miles of your location. When a buyer is interested, they can use the Facebook Messenger to ask questions, negotiate price or schedule the exchange.
How do you start selling on Facebook Marketplace?
As mentioned previously, Facebook does not physically manage the exchange of goods or services through its platform — it merely connects buyers and sellers. When it comes time to execute the transaction, you will need to complete the sale in person or through another application.
Facebook encourages users to chat about payment preferences prior to agreeing on a transaction, and for sellers to always choose a secure and protected payment method. If the buyer and seller need to exchange a physical good in person, Facebook recommends meeting in a public place.
However, you should never share private information related to your home address, financial details, or anything else that you would not typically share with a stranger.
While Facebook Marketplace is, in theory, safer than other classified platforms, because buyers and sellers have access to each other’s Facebook profile, there are always risks — so take precautions.
Tips for selling on Facebook Marketplace
If you are thinking about selling on Facebook Marketplace and want to increase your chances of success, here are five tips to help you dominate the platform.
1. Know what you can and can’t do
Before you start selling on Facebook Marketplace, read the guidelines, so you know what items and activities are prohibited. You obviously cannot sell explosives, drugs or ammunition — but did you know Facebook prohibits the selling of any animals on Marketplace?
2. Post several great photos
Facebook Marketplace is very photo oriented, especially on a mobile device. If you want your items to stand out from others in your category, then you need photos that will catch the scroller’s attention. Take several different photos so you can assess which ones are the best and try to limit the distractions in the photo. Remember, a picture tells a thousand words — so the better your photos, the more likely you are to engage your customers.
Also, the photos are a way for you to set expectations clearly. If you’re selling a used item with imperfections, try to take a photo of that issue. The more transparent and honest you are with your used items, the less likely you are to face issues when the buyer sees the item in person.
3. Use the description field appropriately
As with eCommerce, the product description is one of the most important attributes. This is more than just a field for you to write the attributes of your good or service. It’s an opportunity for you to bring your post to life — and really sell your listing.
You should also practice general optimization techniques when writing your description.
Include keywords that relate to your product and try different variations. The more relevant details and information you provide in your listing, the more likely it is to show when a user searches in that space.
4. Use a strategic pricing strategy
Before you decide on a price, look at what similar goods or services are going for in your area. Regardless of the condition of your item, knowing your competitors’ prices will help you avoid over- or underpricing yourself.
Additionally, like many classifieds platforms, buyers are not afraid to negotiate. Marketplace even encourages it with a “Make Offer” button. You may want to choose a listing price above what you are actually targeting to leave room for negotiating.
Prepare to handle responses
The call-to-action on a Marketplace post is to message the seller. That means if you have several interested buyers, you will experience an influx of questions and messages. Rather than losing your buyers’ interest by trying to craft perfect responses to every message, create a variety of templates based on potential questions.
Get to selling on Facebook Marketplace
If Facebook’s history is any indication of Marketplace’s future, then entrepreneurs and small businesses should consider investing in this new platform.
By all indications, selling on Facebook Marketplace will be around for the foreseeable future. It also looks as if they are putting more resources into building out the features, reporting and advertising.
Take time to look into Facebook’s Marketplace — especially if you are looking for a new avenue to engage potential buyers and increase revenue.