Start a Local Classified Site on Facebook
February 3rd, 2016 by Skip McGrath
Today’s post is a guest post by Diana Ratliff
Diana Ratliff is an experienced online marketing consultant and Amazon seller. Visit http://easternshoremarketing.com/diana/ for information about ecommerce web design and marketing, or for information on their new platform for Amazon Sellers who want to grow their brand while still generating sales through Amazon.
Amazon and eBay sellers often find themselves with extra merchandise to dispose of – returns or damaged items. And many sellers scour garage sales or thrift shops for certain types of merchandise they like to sell.
Not many know that there are Facebook groups – probably already running within your community – to allow area residents to sell unwanted items. And it’s not hard to start your own!
To find local groups, search within Facebook for your city name or area plus terms such as yard sale, garage sale, swap shop, classifieds, or buy sell trade. Join a few groups, read the rules, and start buying and selling! Note what you like and don’t like about how each group operates as you decide whether to start your own.
I ultimately started my own group (which now has about 3300 members) because most of the local groups were filled with ads for used clothes, purses, and shoes – items I was not interested in buying or selling. So in my group you can’t sell those items (unless mentioned as part of a larger garage sale). I also don’t allow pets, real estate, any businesses or for-profit sales within my group.
Members may sell individual items or advertise their garage, estate or yard sale.
I have seen groups focused on children’s clothing and toys. Groups focused on items of interest to men. Groups focused on books.
The point is that if it’s your group, you can set it up so that it benefits your business.
Mine is set as a CLOSED group (so you need to ask to Join) and posts need to be approved. I do have one other Admin (a lady I’ve never met but who has been an active member.) I got it started by mentioning it on my personal Facebook page and asking a few friends to do the same. I also periodically ask members to invite their friends.
Most of the time it runs pretty smoothly – although every once in a while some member is mad at another member and messages one of us. (Usually the complaint is “I said I wanted it first but they didn’t sell it to me.” I respond that people can sell to whoever they want, and that there are reasons a seller might prefer one buyer over another – they know the person, they can pick it up
You’ll need to set up group rules, which is one reason to look at how other groups do it, first.
For example, most set rules about how often you can add items or “bump” an existing post. Most caution you not to make frivolous comments or “likes” on items being sold. Most request a clear photo, price, description and location in the post.
I tell members that price negotiations and pickup arrangements should be moved to private messages. Members are usually asked to delete the post when an item is sold, but they forget, so periodically we delete old posts.
I have sold some good merchandise that way and bought some too. My most profitable find was a collection of 75 NIB Barbies for $300 – they sold for a nice profit on Amazon. I also said one time that I was looking for Starbucks mugs and got a bunch.
Of course, you have to abide by your own rules. If you say “no businesses” you can’t represent yourself as one, either. That negative is somewhat offset though by the fact that, if posts require approval, you see them before everyone else does.
I encourage you to use such groups within your own area when you have extra merchandise to sell. And consider starting your own! It’s free to do and relatively easy to manage if you check Facebook often.