03 Feb Making the Most of Facebook Marketplace
Only been a year since my last blog post, not bad! Yikes. I’ve made a goal of committing more to this space this year, and I’m starting by talking about one of the things I get asked about most – how I find so many great things on Facebook Marketplace.
When I first started to refinish furniture, Craigslist was the name of the game. I got almost everything there. But in the 5 or so years I’ve been doing this, things have completely switched over to Marketplace. It’s definitely safer and more convenient. I can’t math, but I would have to guess that well over 70% of the furniture and antiques in my house are Marketplace finds. From my very favorite antique coffee table (an INCREDIBLE $20 find), my mantel headboard ($20), my giant antique white armoire ($75), to even my antique bathroom sink ($25), there is not a room in the house that hasn’t been touched by Facebook Marketplace.
So you might be thinking “great for you, but there’s NOTHING on my Marketplace,” because I hear that from people all the time. To be fair, I do live in a great area for antiques and vintage finds. That doesn’t mean there aren’t great things in your area, but you may just have to work a little harder to find them. So without further ado, here are some of the tips that have worked for me.
Ok, so I’m not saying you need to be a Marketplace stalker…buuuttt….well, yeah, actually I am. I check the Marketplace several times a day. Now, does that mean that I’m spending several minutes scrolling each time and searching through every category? No, absolutely not. But I do at least open Marketplace a few times a day to see what the most recent and top finds for me are. The good stuff often goes FAST, so if you’re only checking every few days there’s likely a lot you’ve missed. If you’re opening your Marketplace a few times a day and what you’re seeing isn’t any good or doesn’t seem relevant, you may need to focus on this next part.
2. Train Your Marketplace
Just like all social media these days, the Facebook Marketplace operates by an algorithm. That means it shows you what it THINKS you want to see. So there are a few things you can do to help Marketplace help you and to “train” it to show you what you want to see. First of all, search for things you want to see and CLICK on them…if you’re looking for an antique armoire, search for one and open anything good that comes up, even if it’s way out of your search area or is a million dollars. I often search for things outside of my preferred travel radius just so I can show Marketplace what I want. The flipside to this is that you need to be a little careful about what you click on. For instance, if you click on something just because it looks funny or weird, or WHATEVER, be prepared to see your algorithm change. For instance, I once opened a post for some eggs (I have NO idea why, I think I just thought they were pretty, ha!) and this is what my Marketplace looked like.
3. Broaden Your Search Terms
This is probably a no-brainer to most people, and I know other bloggers have talked about it, but make sure that if you’re looking for something you search for all its possible names. To run with the antique armoire idea, make sure you search for “antique cabinet,” “vintage cupboard,” “old closet,” etc. People call the same item all sorts of things, even if they’re wrong, ha! So cover your bases.
4. Think Outside the Box
If you’re looking for antiques, obviously your best bet is to look in the “antiques” category, and then probably furniture. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a lot of people don’t consider their “old junk” to be antiques. Do you know where some of the best stuff is hiding? In the “Tools” and “Garden” categories! In the tools category you’ll find everything from beautiful old workbenches to antique cubbies to cool old chippy tool boxes. In the garden category you’ll find terra cotta planters with awesome patina, chippy lawn décor, concrete benches, and of course, beautiful plants! You probably won’t strike gold every time, but it’s always worth the look.
5. Act Now, Think Later
Ok, so maybe not the best advice, but hear me out. Like I said earlier, the good stuff on Marketplace often goes really fast. So if you’ve been looking for something and think you’ve found “the one,” you can’t think on it for very long, if at all. But beyond that, there’s a few things you can do to try to seal the deal. First of all, if possible, don’t ask questions. Now obviously, if you have a very specific space to fill and there are no dimensions listed, you can ask for dimensions. BUT don’t write someone and just ask “Is this available?” because there’s a good chance that 10 other people are writing them the same thing. If you really, really want something you’ve got to go in for the kill. My messages often go something like this: “Hi! I will take this if it’s still available. I can pick up today or at your convenience tomorrow. I can Paypal you right now or bring cash at pickup.” VERY occasionally, if it seems like they have someone else who is interested but hasn’t committed, I”ll offer a little bit more money. I don’t make a habit of this because I’ve been on the other end of this where I thought something was “mine” and someone else has swooped in and offered more money, and it sucks. But if this is “THE ONE,” sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!
So there they are! My “secrets” for finding the best Marketplace has to offer. Happy hunting! And if you’ve found something really great on Marketplace, I’d love to hear about it below!