There are numerous options when it comes to buying and selling products online – think Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist. But if you’re looking for a more community-oriented way to buy and sell, then social media platforms are a great option. And among those, Facebook Marketplace is one of the best.
Yet, we rarely think of Facebook as a place to buy and sell items. It could be because it has only recently opened up for businesses, or because its availability varies from country to country.
Whatever the reason, it’s time to start thinking of Facebook Marketplace as a viable option for your business, because it’s a great way to build brand awareness and connect with potential customers in your area.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to Facebook Marketplace for business, including how to get started and what to keep in mind.
What Is Facebook Marketplace?
Facebook Marketplace, first implemented in 2016, is a feature on Facebook that allows users to buy and sell products within their local community. It is available in over 70 countries, making it one of the most widely used e-commerce platforms globally.
To use Marketplace, simply open Facebook and click on the Marketplace icon – the one that looks like a little storefront. There, you can browse through listings of products near you, filtered by category. Considering how much time people spend on social media, it’s no wonder that Facebook Marketplace has become such a popular place to buy and sell.
In 2021, Facebook Marketplace reached one billion monthly users and is now used by over two-thirds of Facebook users. Yet, only a fraction of businesses are using it to trade products, so there’s still a lot of opportunity for growth in this area.
Why Sell on Facebook Marketplace?
As a business owner, you might be wondering whether it’s worth your while to start selling on Facebook Marketplace. After all, there are many other e-commerce platforms out there, so why add one more to the mix?
Well, for starters, Facebook Marketplace is completely free to use. That means you don’t have to worry about paying any fees or commissions on any marketplace listing – unlike other sites like Amazon and eBay.
Another benefit of FB Marketplace is that it allows you to connect with interested buyers in your local community. So if you have a brick-and-mortar store, for example, selling on Facebook Marketplace can help drive foot traffic to your location.
It’s safe to assume that most of your customers are already on Facebook (and related local Facebook groups), so it makes sense to meet them where they are. Additionally, since Marketplace is integrated with Facebook Messenger, it’s easy for buyers and sellers to communicate directly – no need for a third-party messaging app.
Finally, setting up a listing on Marketplace is quick and easy. Think about it as creating a Facebook post, but with a few additional steps to specify all the details about what you’re selling and for how much. We’ll go into more detail on this later.
Who Can Sell on Marketplace?
As mentioned earlier, Facebook Marketplace was originally meant to be a place for individuals to buy and sell products in a simple and convenient way. However, in recent years, Facebook has expanded its Marketplace offerings to include businesses as well.
Currently, anyone who has a Facebook account can sell their products – individuals, entrepreneurs, businesses, self-employed professionals, or even non-profit organizations. Needless to say, this has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for companies of all sizes.
What Can You Sell on Marketplace?
However, there are some limitations to what you can sell on Facebook Marketplace, just like with other eCommerce platforms. The common denominator is that your product must be legal and cannot violate any of Facebook Marketplace rules, including its Community Standards.
The prohibited content list includes but is not limited to:
- Digital media – any form of digital content that can be downloaded or streamed, such as e-books, music, and videos (with the exception of video rentals and legitimate sales);
- Adult products – anything that’s sexually suggestive or related to nudity;
- Health products – supplements, weight loss products, or anything that makes medical claims;
- Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs – this also includes items like pipes and bongs, as well as drug paraphernalia;
- Gambling – anything related to buying, selling, or playing games of chance, such as lottery tickets and casino games, including digital currencies;
- Services – as a general rule, Facebook Marketplace is not meant to be a platform for service providers;
- Weapons and firearms – anything that can be used to cause physical harm, e.g., knives, guns, and ammunition.
Getting Started With Marketplace for Business
If your business is in any way present online, chances are you already have a Facebook page for it – and with that, you have access to the Marketplace. If you don’t have one yet, now is the time to create it. From there, all you need to do is get acquainted with the selling process on Marketplace.
Business Facebook Account
You probably don’t want to sell your product under your personal name, so you’ll need to create a business Facebook page. It’s free and relatively simple. You obviously need to have a personal Facebook account first, and you’ll be asked to provide some basic information about your business.
During that process, you will also be able to set up the Business Manager. It’s a tool that lets you manage your business’s Facebook presence and employ other people to help you run it without sharing your personal account with others. The control it gives you over your business’s social media is invaluable, so make sure to set it up as soon as possible.
Facebook Marketplace Basics
Once you have a business Facebook page, it’s time to learn the ropes of Marketplace. The best way to do that is by buying something yourself first – it will give you a feel for how the process works and what potential customers can expect.
When you’re ready to sell, click on the Marketplace icon in the left sidebar of your Facebook page. Then, you will see all of the categories you can choose from, as well as a long form where you can describe your product in detail. There’s no silver bullet when it comes to writing product descriptions, but make sure yours is clear and concise.
Apart from just being able to see your listings, Facebook Marketplace offers a wide array of additional features in the Commerce Manager. There, you can assess your performance, see insights about the traffic your Facebook Marketplace sales are getting, and more.
Facebook Marketplace Categories
You should be wary of Marketplace categories for two reasons. First, it can be a good idea to narrow it down to make it easier for customers looking for a specific condition or type of product. Second, trading in the wrong category might get you less exposure or remove you from the platform entirely.
The list of categories on Facebook Marketplace may not be as exhaustive as other platforms, but it covers most bases. The most common are:
- Vehicles – cars, motorcycles, RVs, and related parts;
- Property Rentals – houses, apartments, and rooms for rent;
- Apparel – new and used clothes, accessories, and other items you can wear;
- Electronics – computers, TVs, phones, and anything that falls within FB rules;
- Free Stuff – originally for things that are no longer needed and can be given away, yet sometimes abused by sellers;
- Buy and Sell Groups – a special category for groups of people sharing a specific interest;
- Classifieds – ads from sellers offering something other than the above items.
Facebook Marketplace Ads
This is where your advertising skills come in handy. If you’ve ever advertised on Facebook, creating Facebook Marketplace ads will seem familiar to you – but if you haven’t, there’s no need to worry. The process is pretty straightforward, and the Facebook Ads Manager tool will guide you through every step of the way.
Once you log in to your Ads Manager account, you should be able to select a new Campaign Objective. There, you choose whether you want to increase your brand awareness, generate leads, and so on. Next, you set your budget and schedule, that is, how much you’re willing to spend on your ads, and when they should be shown.
Finally, it’s time for the creative part – in the following steps you have to decide on your target audience, ad placement, and format. Those will depend on the products you sell, so you need to determine what will work best for your chosen category. Facebook offers various ad formats like single-image or video ads, carousels, and collection posts.
Lastly, you choose your destination, i.e., whether your ad should send people to your website, Facebook shop or event, or an Instant Experience, a mobile-optimized full-screen app designed to load fast and showcase products on the go. From there, all you have to do is to click publish and wait for your review.
How Does Facebook Marketplace Algorithm Work?
The Facebook Marketplace algorithm is constantly changing and evolving; however, the basic premise is that it uses a variety of factors to determine which items to show first in the search results. These factors include things like similarities in item descriptions and shared visual cues between items discerned by computer vision and other machine learning algorithms.
In short, by using Facebook magic, Marketplace can suggest items to users that they might be interested in, even if they’ve never explicitly searched for them before. As a business, you probably want to excel in the Facebook Marketplace listings, and fortunately for you, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of being seen.
To start, make sure that your product descriptions are clear and concise. The title is the most important part of your product listing, so try to include as many relevant keywords as possible without making it sound spammy – just like Google, Facebook’s algorithm takes keyword density into account when determining which items to show first.
In addition to that, take a look at the best-performing listings in your category and see what they have in common. Are there any words or phrases that are used frequently, or maybe they all use an exact type of photo? If so, consider using them in your own listings.
Facebook Business Page and Marketplace Listings
As of today, business-specific features of Facebook Marketplace are limited only to select sellers. Those features focus on providing larger companies with the option to list their products directly on the Marketplace. The idea behind this is that the business page will be seen as the source of all products listed on Marketplace.
Yet, having a Facebook business page, you can still list your products on Facebook Marketplace. One way is to simply put your products in the Marketplace’s Sale Items section, as mentioned above. You can also use the Commerce Manager to enable Marketplace for your business page and upload your products or create a collection.
How to Sell on Facebook Marketplace
So, you have your Facebook account set up and you’re ready to start selling your products online. Here’s how to get started:
- Log into your Facebook account and go to the Marketplace tab. If you don’t see it, click on the See more button at the left of your screen and scroll until you find it. There, you should see a list of items that are currently for sale in your area.
- To start selling, click on the Create new listing button. You will be prompted to choose a category for your listing.
- Next, you will be greeted with a long list of details that you will need to provide. The first thing to do is add photos of the product you’re selling. You can add up to 10 photos; make sure they are of high quality and show off your product in the best light possible.
- Then, you will need to add a title, price, specific category, and condition. The latter two come in a drop-down menu, so select the appropriate options.
- In the description box, you write a detailed description of your product. Be sure to include any relevant information, such as dimensions, weight, color, etc. It is also where you want to put relevant keywords.
- Lastly, you select the availability (single item or stock), add product tags, the optional SKU, and the location of the product. You can also choose to boost your listing, which will show your product to more buyers and hide it from your Facebook friends.
- Once you’re done filling out all the details, click on the Publish button and your listing will go live!
It’s worth noting that before you publish your listing, you will also see a list of relevant groups. You can choose to join these groups and post your listing there as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Find Local Selling Groups?
Local buying and selling groups are specific groups on Facebook that are dedicated to trading items within a certain geographical area. Unlike regular groups, they do not have rooms, chats, or anonymous posts. Instead, all members of the group must have a verified Facebook account, and all posts must include the location of the item being sold.
To find a local selling group on Facebook Marketplace, open the Facebook website or app and browse through groups. Searching for specifics, like Boston housing will narrow down the list of available options.
Once you find a selling group that looks promising, read through the group’s rules to make sure you are eligible to join. If everything looks good, click on the Join Group button and start browsing through postings.
Can I Use My Existing Facebook Account?
Yes, you can. You don’t need to set up a separate Facebook Marketplace account; in fact, your existing account can provide you with better results than a newly created one. However, if you are looking to sell items on Facebook Marketplace as a small business, you may want to consider creating a business Facebook page.
A business-specific profile allows you to add more users as admins and better manage your Facebook profile. You can also add additional information about your company and products, as well as post updates related to your business – all of which will help you attract more customers.
What Are the Payment Processing Options?
The payment processing options on Facebook Marketplace depend on the country in which you are located. In the United States, you can use a credit card, debit card, or PayPal account to pay for items without leaving the Facebook app.
The payment method of your choice will be securely stored so that you can easily make future purchases without having to re-enter your payment information. Facebook is also working on its own payment method, Facebook Pay, which aims to make it easier for people to buy and sell things on the platform.
Does Facebook Marketplace Charge a Fee?
One of the ways in which Facebook Marketplace distinguishes itself from other e-commerce platforms is that it does not charge any fees for listing or selling items. This makes it an attractive option for people who are looking to sell online without any additional costs.
Of course, if you want to create ads to reach prospective buyers in their news feeds or Marketplace search results, you will have to pay a fee. Similarly, Facebook may charge a selling fee on instant sales processed through Facebook Pay.
How to Communicate With Potential Buyers?
Once you have posted your product on Facebook Marketplace, potential buyers will be able to send you a message through the platform to ask questions or make an offer. Facebook Messenger is another point that distinguishes Facebook Marketplace from other online marketplaces, as it allows for a more personal form of communication between buyers and sellers.
Regardless of whether you are selling pet supplies, designer clothing, or handmade jewelry, your prospective buyers will want to know as much about the product as possible before making a purchase. Be sure to respond to all messages in a timely manner and provide as much detail as you can to ensure a smooth transaction.
Advanced Selling Tips
On the surface, Facebook Marketplace may seem like a pretty straightforward platform, and a large part of that can be attributed to how much Facebook does to make buying and selling as easy as possible. With that, there are some unique features of Marketplace that you can use to your advantage when it comes time to sell items.
Make Use of Trends
Seasonal sales are a huge part of the retail industry, and you can bet that Facebook users are looking to buy items based on what time of year it is. While they may not be that keen on finding a whole new wardrobe for the summer months, they may be interested in finding a new grill or Christmas Tree.
This is where Facebook Marketplace excels. Because it’s a platform that caters to buyers and sellers in real-time, you can use it to your advantage by listing items that are in demand during specific months.
Test Out New Strategies
Given the fact that Facebook Marketplace is still free to use, it’s the perfect place to test out new selling strategies without worrying about losing any of your hard-earned money. If you have a few extra minutes and are feeling adventurous, try experimenting with different types of posts and see which ones get more views or reactions.
You can also use Facebook Marketplace as a way to connect with potential customers on other platforms. For example, if you have a store on Etsy, you can use Marketplace as a way to drive traffic to your site and increase sales.
Identify Customer Preferences
This is related more to Facebook ads in general, but it’s important to realize that you can use an enormous amount of data, as Facebook tracks many metrics, and search bar queries are one of them.
Normally, you would use that data to assess what products or services cater to certain markets, and then use that to drive traffic to your website or online store. Facebook offers a direct connection to target users, all you need is to select the right audience when setting up your campaign.
Boost Your Listings
As mentioned earlier, Facebook doesn’t take any listing fees provided you’re not interested in buying extra ads. But if you want to give your items a little extra push and make sure they’re being seen by as many people as possible, you can spend some money on Facebook ads, or more specifically, use the Boost Listing option.
There, you simply estimate your budget and target audience and leave it up to Facebook to help sell your items for you. And don’t worry if things aren’t going the way you planned – you can always adjust the parameters of your ad and make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. The statistics are there for you to track, so there’s no need to be in the dark.
Post in Local Groups
Facebook is all about connecting with like-minded people, and one of the best ways to do that is by joining local buyer groups. Not only will this give you an opportunity to connect with potential customers in your area, but it can also help increase your chances of selling items quickly.
It may prove useful to also be active in the local buyer group of your chosen niche. For example, if you sell vintage items, it would make sense to join a group for people who are interested in that and offer extra help or support that they may need.
Use the Right Photos
When it comes to online selling, pictures are worth a thousand words. But there’s a catch: using the same type of photos you would use on your eCommerce website may not be the best idea. Simply put, doing so may render you less trustworthy to the audience used to photos taken with a smartphone.
Indeed, you should ensure that the pictures of your products are of high quality, but at the same time, you may want to stay away from edited photos taken in a professional studio. Instead, try to focus on taking pictures in natural lighting with a simple background.
Advantages of Using Facebook Marketplace for Businesses
Given how Facebook’s main purpose is connecting people with each other, it’s no surprise that one of the main advantages of using it for businesses is its ability to connect businesses with potential customers that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. Yet, this typically concerns interactions typical of social media.
Facebook Marketplace, however, is the missing link between these platforms and e-commerce. As such, it provides a unique opportunity for businesses to increase their ROI by selling products directly to consumers in a much more approachable manner.
In addition, the fact that Facebook Marketplace is still relatively new means that it hasn’t been bombarded with as much advertising as, say, Google or Amazon. This provides businesses with a unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor and take advantage of this relatively untapped resource before their competitors do.
On top of that, it is also a great way to increase brand awareness and build customer loyalty. By selling on Facebook Marketplace (and using Marketplace ads), you greatly increase the chances of appearing in the news feed of your potential buyers,
Things To Consider When Selling on Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace’s main advantage is also a disadvantage, at least when speaking about business users. As anyone can sell there, it means that not every sale will be a professional sale. That might result in lower quality of goods and overall experience, ultimately scaring customers away from FB Marketplace.
Another big concern is the amount of low-quality items for sale. Facebook is not as good as Amazon when it comes to filtering out counterfeit products, and, depending on the category, you might find it difficult to have your product get above spammy posts in listings.
Similarly, Facebook does not offer the same level of customer service that other professional companies do. This means that if there are issues with the product, you will have to sort them out yourself by contacting the buyer (or seller) directly and dealing with the return policy on your own.
This, however, shouldn’t discourage you from selling on Facebook Marketplace. It is still a viable option for both small and large businesses, so given the number of people actively using Facebook and how affordable Facebook advertising options are, it can’t be ignored.
Manager with experience in leading team of software developers and testers during implementation of internal and external IT projects. Ceo of Brandly360.com.