Facebook: it’s where your family comments on every single one of your photos, your old friend from high school constantly gives updates about their new baby, and now…a site where you can buy furniture? With the launch of Facebook Marketplace, Facebook is now no longer just family, friends, and a barrage of political posts: it’s the place you can buy and sell just about anything you need.
If you’re no stranger to online buying and selling, you probably are wondering just what makes Facebook Marketplace different. After all, there’s already Craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo, and dozens of services popping up every day that allow you to buy and sell anything from the comfort of your couch. But Facebook Marketplace has a lot of distinct advantages that have landed it a reputation as one of the safest, easiest places to sell.
What Makes Facebook Marketplace So Unique?
Security. In the past, online buyers can only weed out unsavory sellers by using the service-provided rating system (using systems like OfferUp’s five-star seller ratings). Short of that, you can run a background check to make sure they’re not a criminal, but that seems like a bit much for a used coffee table. With Facebook Marketplace, you get a much more complete picture of a person, starting with a literal picture, then on to any common friends, some basic information about where they’re from, their age, and what their life is like. Plus, it makes it easier to recognize them in public when you meet up to make your purchase if you’ve seen their face before.
Messaging. On Craigslist, you either have to give out your cell phone number or use their email-encryption tool to handle messaging. In 2018, those are not great options. Facebook Marketplace, on the other hand, runs through Facebook messenger. There’s no extra inconvenience or safety measures: just message through the app or online the same way you can message your friends. You can even pay through Facebook Messenger, far better than the old standard of cash.
Convenience. Have you ever tried to use Craigslist on your phone? If so, you might’ve ended up with your phone throw at a wall. We don’t blame you – the interface isn’t mobile-friendly. And while apps like OfferUp and LetGo offer the convenience of a native app experience, it’s just so much easier to slide from your Facebook News Feed two buttons to the right for Marketplace.
Image Source: Facebook
Detail, Detail, Detail
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling – used designer shoes, brand-new furniture, car parts – details matter. Is there a scuff on the heel of the shoe? Upload a close-up shot. Car part only work for a certain model? Include the model information. Give possible buyers every reason to trust you, and they’ll be more willing to buy from you.
Choose the Right Category
Don’t spam the appliances section with a post for your used pickup truck. Not only is it annoying, it’s an easy way to get your item taken down (and your account flagged). You’ll regret it especially if you wind up blocked out of Facebook entirely – and unlike Craigslist, it’s not so easy to create a new fake account to get your pickup sold.
Be Clear About Your Price
If you’ll only take $250 for your leather sectional, not even a dollar less, make that clear. While it’s always a good idea to be open to offers, letting potential customers know upfront that you’ll only take a fixed price keeps your inbox clear for interested buyers.
Know What Items Facebook Marketplace Won’t Let You Sell
There are a few items Facebook Marketplace does not allow you to offer – and they’ll get your entire Facebook account blocked if you try it too sneakily. Here’s what you shouldn’t try to sell:
- Drugs, or anything illegal (same as any other sales site)
- Weapons, including guns and knives (even decorative items), and weapon ammunition
- Animals, including pets
- Counterfeits / knockoff items
- Anything that infringes on intellectual property (like unlicensed fan gear)
- Tobacco products and related paraphernalia
- Anything that involves a “get rich quick” scheme (MLM products, scams, and drugs/medications not approved by the FDA)
There are more specific items and services that can’t be sold (and some can only be sold on Facebook and not on Instagram), so if you’re not sure, check their full guidelines here.
Include Delivery/Shipping Whenever You Can
No one wants to buy a couch and then have to move it themselves. If you include shipping and markup the price marginally, your items will fly off the (electronic) shelves. For cost-effective shipping, ship smaller items via USPS flat-rate boxes. For larger items, there’s Dolly, your trusted Facebook Marketplace delivery service. Our Helpers will take care of all the moving for you so you don’t even need to go to the buyer’s home. Offering Dolly delivery whenever the customer buys, even on the same day, will make sure your furniture and large items sell on Facebook Marketplace in a snap.
As a seller on Facebook marketplace, there’s a world of potential. But as a buyer, it’s important to remember that scams do still exist – but they’re a bit harder to find here than on Craigslist. Here are our top tips to stay safe when buying.
Make Sure the Profile Is Legit
Spam profiles and trolls are everywhere, and they may be posting fake ads to get your money. Checking to see a profile is legit? Here are a few sure signs it’s fake:
- The profile was created recently
- Their profile picture is not of a photo of a person, or is not a photo at all
- The profile has zero friends, or a very small number (less than 25 is usually suspicious)
- There are no details on their page: no workplace, city, friends, photos, or posts
- Profile only posts political content or shares content from very small, virtually unknown sites
If you find a fake profile, do the world a favor: report them to Facebook and save someone else from getting scammed.
Comparison Shop (Beyond Facebook)
You may find that prices are slightly higher on Facebook (or slightly lower), so taking a look at what other sites are offering for similar products is a good way to see if this is your best bet. Of course, there are advantages to Facebook Marketplace that other sites won’t have, so if you’re intent on buying through Facebook, consider asking the seller to honor the price of the product you found elsewhere to salvage both the deal and your sanity.
PSA: You Don’t Have to Accept a Seller’s Friend Request to Buy From Them
You can message back and forth with people you’re not Facebook friends with through the messenger app. You do not have to be their Facebook friend. You do not have to give them your phone number. If a seller is asking that you friend them, proceed with caution.
Just Like with Craigslist, Don’t Wire Transfer for Purchases
This is pretty straightforward: if you’re making a purchase on Facebook Marketplace, don’t wire transfer the payment. Some safer alternatives:
Whichever payment method you choose, make sure you’re getting your item before paying – otherwise, your money is as good as gone.
Buying and selling on Facebook marketplace may feel unfamiliar now, but in the future, it could be the easiest way to buy and sell. Make sure you have all the right tips and tools to help you out – including Dolly. We’ll bring you the truck and muscle you need to deliver your big items – and with us as your delivery option, you’ll sell on Facebook even faster. Check out our Facebook reviews to learn why we’re trusted with Facebook Marketplace deliveries every day.
Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.