When was the last time you logged onto Facebook? 1 day ago? 1 minuted ago? Believe it or not, Facebook has over 1 billion daily active users (Zephoria, 2017)!
People use Facebook for a lot of different reasons like socializing with family members, coworkers, friends, and classmates they haven’t seen in 15+ years as well as to catch up on the news, play games, and even shop. Yes, people buy things on Facebook every single day. And where there’s someone buying… there’s got to be someone selling, right? Shouldn’t that someone be you?
Welcome to How to Sell on Facebook: 3 Ways to Make Quick Cash. Let’s make some money together!
While learning how to sell on Facebook is pretty easy, it is quite different than other options such as Amazon. In fact, there are 3 different ways to learn how to sell on Facebook:
- Sell to family and friends.
- Sell in a Facebook group.
- Sell in the Facebook Marketplace.
Before we dive into each of the options you have for selling on Facebook, let’s talk about why selling on Facebook is a good idea period.
Why You Should Learn How to Sell on Facebook
If you have stuff you’re trying to unload, you have a lot of options. You could sell it in a garage sale, on Craigslist, on Amazon, on eBay, or via your local newspaper (just to name a few). So why Facebook?
Well, for starters, Facebook has a huge reach. That’s going to mean a lot more eyeballs on that ugly sweater you’re desperate to unload for quick cash. Some other reasons to learn how to sell on Facebook are:
Push It Real Good
Many people have push notifications set up for Facebook. This means if there’s a new post in a group they belong to or a post they’re tagged in they’ll get notified right a way. This gives you a great way to get in front of people quickly.
You Used to Call Me on My Cell Phone
You can communicate with people via private message instead of fielding a ton of phone calls and text messages from people at all hours of the day and night.
(Sorry, I ran out of song titles that were appropriate for headings!) A lot of selling options cost you money or the site takes a cut of your sales but Facebook is fee free.
How to Sell on Facebook to Family and Friends
Perhaps the easiest way to sell items on Facebook is to your network of family and friends.
The best way to approach this will probably depend on how many items you have to sell at once. If you only have one or two items to sell, simply put up a Facebook post.
Pro Tip: Tag contacts (by typing @theirusername) you think would be especially interested in this item to ensure they see it.
If you have several items to sell consider creating a whole photo album. You can add product info (price, description, etc.) in the photo captions.
Here are some pros and cons to this option.
- Quick and easy – you can throw up a Facebook post in a matter of minutes (if not seconds).
- Safer – this option may be a bit safer than other approaches as (in theory) you’re dealing with people you already know.
- Limited reach – The main con to this approach is that you’re limiting your selling potential to your group of contacts. If you’re a social butterfly with thousands of friends this may not be so bad but for the average individual it can really hinder sales.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that people outside of your immediate friends and family may see your item. Depending on your privacy settings, if your college bestie shares your post, all of her contacts will see it even if you aren’t directly connected to them.
How to Sell on Facebook in a Group
Facebook groups are virtual communities of people who are united around a particular interest. In this case you’re looking for garage sale groups or buying and selling groups.
Buying and selling groups are just a collection of posts of things that are for sale. Some groups may be specialized (ex. just books, guns, or baby clothes), but a lot of local groups will be open to just about anything.
Don’t worry, there’s no steep learning curve for learning how to sell on Facebook in a group setting. Once you find a group and get approved by an admin to join, you’ll go to the group page and put a post up just like you would on your own timeline.
Here are some pros and cons to this option.
- Reach – Selling in a group setting will help your items be seen by more people thus increasing your chances for a quick sale. In fact, according to Facebook, “More than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month.”
- Price – This ties back into reach, but because your item is being seen by more people, you can typically demand a higher price than if you’re just selling to family and friends.
- Leg work – Before you can sell in a Facebook group you have to find a Facebook group!
- Wait time – Most Facebook groups require you to be approved by an admin before you can start posting. Sometimes admins (who are unpaid volunteers) can be a bit slow to approve new members.
How to Find Facebook Groups
If you decide that selling in a Facebook group is the right option for you, you can find groups to join in a few different ways.
- Ask a friend – You can look at the groups your friends or family members have joined (or just ask them).
- Search – You can search Facebook. In the search bar simply type keywords like “yard sale”, “garage sale”, “buy and sell” and your county or city name.
- Use the “Discover” tool – Utilize Facebook’s “Discover” tool to find groups that are local to you or fit a certain category.
How to Sell on Facebook in the Marketplace
Facebook’s Marketplace is a relatively new addition to Facebook and is currently only available on mobile devices.
When you login to your Facebook app on your phone, look at the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. In the center, you should see a little storefront icon (it looks like a window with an awning over it). That’s the Marketplace.
When you click on the Marketplace icon, Facebook will detect your location and show you items for sale near you. To sell something, make sure you have at least 1 photo of the item on your phone and click in the box that says “What are you selling?” or on the camera icon at the top of the app. Once you choose your photo, Facebook will walk you through the rest but it’s pretty quick and painless.
Here are some pros and cons to this option.
- Reach – Potentially, the Marketplace has an even greater reach than groups on Facebook because anyone in the area can see your item (not just members of a group).
- Categories – You can help your item stand out (versus just being part of the general feed of a group) by placing it in the appropriate category.
- Mobile only – As mentioned above, the Marketplace is only available to mobile users.
- New – Since the Marketplace is relatively new (introduced in 2016) not as many people are familiar with it.
Pro Tip: there’s nothing that says you can’t list your items in all 3 places! 🙂
Tips for Listing Your Item on Facebook
Whether you’re going to be selling to family and friends, a group, or in the Marketplace (or all of the above!), there are universal best practices you should follow for selling on Facebook. A lot of these tips may seem like common sense but once you start selling on Facebook you’ll quickly see how frequently people make these mistakes.
A Photo is Worth a 1,000 Words
Include at least 1 good photo of the item you’re selling. Obviously, the word “good” is subjective but I think we can all agree that when you’re trying to sell something good lighting, multiple angles, and clear images are essential.
Facebook allows you to post multiple images (even in the Marketplace you can post up to 10) so be sure to take advantage of that feature and really showcase the goods! 🙂
When taking photos, ensure that the item you’re selling is the focal point of the photo. Remove additional items from the frame so potential buyers aren’t distracted or even confused about what you’re selling.
Tell a (Short) Story
Describe the item you’re selling. When crafting your description, you want to strike a balance between comprehensive and concise. Providing enough information will help you avoid answering endless rounds of questions from potential buyers. However, providing too much information will have people skimming your description and still asking you questions.
Here are some things I recommend including in the description of everything you sell on Facebook:
- Price (see the next section for tips)
- Condition (be honest!)
- Price of the item new (if possible)
- Link to the item new (if possible)
- Purpose (what it does)
- General location
I like to include a one liner about what the item is for (or a really cool alternate purpose if applicable) because someone who sees the picture may not automatically know what the item is.
When writing your description, it is important to be as clear and honest as possible. If the item has a small stain, say so. If the item is fraying around the edges, say so. Being upfront will keep you in good standing with the group (or your family and friends) and keep you from wasting your time with buyers who want something that is in mint condition.
Don’t Be a Rebel
If you’re posting in a group, be sure to follow the rules. Don’t post items that aren’t allowed. Don’t spam the board. If you aren’t sure what the rules are and can’t find them on the group’s page, ask an admin.
The Customer is Always Right
If someone publicly comments on your listing or asks a question, be sure to reply promptly. If you’d rather only discuss a matter privately (ex. the person is trying to negotiate a lower price), simply reply with something along the lines of “I’ve sent you a private message in regards to this” or “please private message me in regards to this.”
Even if you’ve already answered the question in the description or one comment above, be responsive!
Pro Tip: If someone sends you a private message and you are not “friends” with that individual it may show up in your message requests folder. Be sure to check there frequently to see if a potential buyer has contacted you. On the Facebook Messenger app, go to the “People” tab and click “Message Requests” to see these messages.
Going… Going… Gone!
Once an item sells on Facebook, be sure to remove the post. If, for some reason, you are unable to delete the post, update the description to say “SOLD: THIS ITEM IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE.”
How to Set a Price When Selling on Facebook
Knowing what to price an item at can be tricky. You will definitely need to do some Internet sleuthing in order to set a fair (but profitable) price. Start by hunting for the item online and seeing what it is priced at on other sites. Try looking on:
- Google’s “Shopping” section
I would also recommending looking around on Facebook to see if anyone else in the local area is selling the item and what they have priced it at.
Once you have a range of prices, take into account the condition of your item. Is it still in the packaging or does it still have the price tags on? Is it used?
You may be able to mark the product up a little bit in the name of local availability. What I mean is that buyers can get the item from you right now instead of having to order and wait for it to be delivered (assuming you aren’t shipping the item).
To get started selling on Facebook all you really need is stuff to sell and a phone with a camera. You can use the Internet connection at your local coffee shop if you don’t have Internet access at home.
The only office supply I recommend having from day 1 is a receipt book. This will allow you to keep a record of what you sold, for how much, and to who. This may come in handy for more than just tax/accounting purposes. We’ll talk more about why you might need this in the “risks” section of How to Sell on Facebook: 3 Ways to Make Quick Cash.
Risks of Selling on Facebook
As with any business, there are risks involved. Below are a few of the risks you need to be aware of when selling on Facebook.
For whatever reason, probably because it is a social networking site, Facebook tends to have a more casual environment than some other selling platforms such as Amazon. Due to this, at one time or another, you’ll probably encounter an unreliable buyer or two when trying to sell on Facebook.
These buyers will message you saying they want something and then vanish into a black hole. They will arrange to meet with you and then stand you up like a bad blind date. It’s frustrating but hard to avoid. Some things that might help are:
- Time limits – Tell an interested party they only have a set amount of time (ex. 24 hours) to get an item and then it is back up for grabs.
- Contact info – Once you reach a point where you’re arranging to meet the buyer, exchange phone numbers so that you can easily stay in touch if plans change.
- Confirm – Before heading out to meet someone confirm they will be there.
When you do encounter an unreliable buyer try to keep your cool. I know it can be super frustrating, especially if you rearranged your schedule to accommodate them. However, do not blast the individual on Facebook. Keep calm and move on!
Since selling on Facebook is a bit more casual there isn’t really an arbitrator of disputes. With Amazon, the customer service team can step in if a problem arises. On Facebook it’s really just between you and the buyer.
Obviously, you want to provide the best customer service possible but sometimes you encounter people that seem to want to be unhappy.
Again, when describing your item on Facebook, be as upfront as possible about the condition. In addition, I suggest letting the buyer know (via private message) what your return policy is and writing it on the receipt before giving the item to the buyer.
Having a receipt book can definitely come in handy if a customer comes back later and disputes the product, amount, or return policy.
I also save private or public messages (you can always take a screenshot) in case problems ever arise.
Before you start selling on Facebook, you’ll want to figure out what methods of payment you’ll accept. If you’re going to be selling a lot of items you may want to invest in some kind of credit card reader that can attach to your smartphone (ex. Square). This will be quite convenient for you and for buyers.
Otherwise, you’ll want to think about what forms of payment you can accept that both you and the buyer will be comfortable with. For example, checks are just pieces of paper. If a buyer gives you a check it doesn’t mean he or she has the money… that check may bounce when you go to deposit it and since Facebook doesn’t have a formal way to settle merchandise disputes you’ll be hard pressed to collect that money from the buyer or get your item back. However, if its an expensive item, the buyer may not feel comfortable just handing over hundreds of dollars in cash so what other options are there? This is something you’ll want to think through carefully.
Since selling on Facebook could very likely require you to meet face to face with a buyer, you’ll always want to consider your personal safety. If you’re selling to family or friends, this (obviously) isn’t a big deal, but when selling in a group or the Marketplace, you’re probably going to be meeting up with a stranger.
Remember what your mother taught you about strangers!
Just because you’re an adult does not mean you aren’t at risk. Here are a few safety tips:
Meet in a public place. Don’t go to someone’s house or invite a stranger to your home. Pick a public place that is well lit and highly trafficked. Preferably not a parking lot.
Tell someone where you’re going. Tell a friend or family member where you’re going, who you’re meeting, and what time. Provide as many details as possible in case something were to go wrong. Better yet, offer to buy your bestie a coffee if she’ll ride along with you.
Be aware. Watch out for red flags. For example, has this person been asking a lot of personal questions or refusing to give you contact info? If something doesn’t feel right don’t be afraid to ask for someone else’s opinion on the situation or call the deal off altogether.
Learning how to sell on Facebook is a great way to get rid of unwanted clutter in your home, make money on the side, or even start a lucrative business. Selling on Facebook has many benefits including a huge potential buyer pool and no fees! However, as with any business there are some risks. Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of how to sell on Facebook. If you’re looking for more resources, I suggest heading on over to Amazon and checking out some great “how to sell on Facebook” books and eBooks.