Selling on Facebook: 14 handy tips to get it done right

Selling your unwanted wares online needn't be riddled with fees, jargon and dubious money transfers. Read on to find out how you can sell stuff locally through Facebook.

Since it was launched back in 2004, Facebook has (perhaps unexpectedly) become a hub for local selling groups, flogging anything from DVDs to baby clothes to dining tables.

It gives users the opportunity to sell popular goods locally. And best of all it’s fee-free, unlike eBay.

With a myriad of groups, the Facebook selling scene can be tricky to navigate, but following these handy tips should help to maximise your selling potential.

Good luck!

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Try the Marketplace

Facebook's Marketplace is a fee-free equivalent to eBay where you can list items.

You'll find Marketplace on the menu on the left, on a desktop, or in the menu icon on the app (top right - three horizontal lines).

Facebook Marketplace (image: Facebook)

All you need to list is the item name, price, rough location, category, description and up to 10 photos.

Unlike eBay, on Facebook Marketplace you should always try and meet the buyer at a safe public location and exchange cash (more on that below).

Once you've sold an item, remember to mark it as sold.

If you're able to reply to most messages within an hour you could get the 'Very Responsive' badge on your Marketplace profile.

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Selling groups

All you need to do is type your postcode into the search bar at the top of the page and see what crops up.

It might seem a hassle, but do join as many as you can - even ones in bordering neighbourhoods. It’ll boost your chances of selling your goods.

Got any FB friends who live nearby? Check out the ‘About’ sections on their profiles.

It’ll show you all of their ‘Likes’ and groups that they’re part of. You might just come across a local selling group that you didn’t know about.

A Facebook Buy and Sell group (image: Facebook)

Scroll through the important details first

Comb through the Ts & Cs of the group before you start selling. You might find certain restrictions on what items you can sell, how long you can keep the ad up for and how you can contact buyers.

There might be small print elsewhere if the group is connected to an external website, so keep an eye out for those.

Keep in mind that you might be banned from posting an ad in more than one place. This isn't always the case, so check the group’s details or speak to the group’s administrator.

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Fill out a ‘Selling Something’ form

Facebook selling groups have a ‘Selling Something’ form, which means you can upload all the essential details like photos, specs and collection information with virtually no fuss.

Take a worthy snap

Quite obvious really, but a good photo will massively boost your chances of selling your wares.

Even if it’s something that’s mass-produced and easily identifiable like a DVD, seeing an image will give buyers an idea of what kind of condition it’s in.

Make sure the photo is well-lit and that you can see all of the important details, including any damages.

With designer products like Ugg boots and expensive technology like an iPad it’s good to have a picture proving they work or are genuine rather than a generic picture from the web.

Good photos are a must for selling (image: Shutterstock)

Find out a bit more about who you’re selling to

Particularly aggressive or argumentative customers are best avoided. If you can, find out how potential buyers have behaved by checking with other sellers to gauge how they might be with you. 

Check your secret ‘Message Requests’ folder

It’s a bit stealthy, but if you look next to your ‘Recent’ folder, you’ll see a ‘Message Requests’ folder which will contain messages which aren’t from your contacts.

Messages from buyers may have shot straight to this folder so you should check it regularly.

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Give buyers 24 hours to make up their minds

As with most buyers, some Facebook users can take their sweet time deciding on a purchase. Give 24 hours to make up their mind - as much as anything else, it’s just good customer service.

Finalise the sale through Facebook Messenger and don't give out any personal details like your phone number up until this point. Always be vigilant about which information you share.

Take payments in cash

It’ll reduce the risk of fraud and since sales are local and done in person anyway, it’s generally not worth doing transfers or card payments.

If a buyer is pushing you into one of these payments and you’re uncomfortable with it, walk away.

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Find out what other people want

Keep up with the ‘wanted’ ads as well as the sales ads. These can be particularly useful if you’ve got an item that you’re finding it difficult to shift.

Buy a separate mobile phone for sales

Regular sellers could benefit from having a separate Pay as you Go phone or SIM card to give out to buyers.

It keeps your primary contact details safe and you can schedule sales-related calls around your own needs.

Get a seperate mobile phone for selling (image: Shutterstock)

Keep your friends - opt for ‘closed’ groups

You getting spammed with sales ads is one thing, but it’s another subjecting your Facebook friends to it. Only you can see content from closed groups, so you can Like and comment all you want.

Alter your own notifications

Being spammed by adverts for things you don’t need can be annoying for you as well.

Take control of what you see by going to the group page and click on the ‘notifications’ tab in the top right-hand corner. You can select ‘All Posts’, ‘Highlights’, Friends’ Posts’ or you can just turn them off entirely.

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Check your privacy settings

Now that you’ll be in touch with more strangers, it’s time to check your privacy settings.

Go to Settings, using the dropdown menu in the top right of the page, then select Privacy in the list of options on the left.

You can then choose who sees your posts 

For a little more security you can carry out a privacy check-up, which allows you to see who sees what from your posts, your apps and your profile.  

Still have more questions? The Facebook Help Centre has loads of useful info on selling groups.

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