If you had a penny for every minute you spent on Facebook, you might be rich. Two-thirds of U.S. adults visit the site daily, and more than half visit it multiple times a day, according to the Pew Research Center. Unfortunately there’s not much cash in scrolling through funny cat videos or arguing with relatives about politics.
But you can make money on the most popular social network by selling the castoffs of your spring cleaning or promoting products for a brand you like. Here’s how.
Sell your stuff
Sure, you can sell unwanted belongings on Craigslist. But if you already use Facebook, it’s easy to list items for sale there, too, through the site’s built-in features or curated groups.
This tool lets you sell a variety of items — such as basketball shoes, coffee tables, and even kitchen appliances and cars — to Facebook members in your neighborhood or city.
Make your items look appealing by photographing them in good light and from multiple angles. And when posting, be sure to sort them into the correct categories and describe them accurately, including any defects. This helps potential buyers trust you.
And you might feel more at ease with potential buyers because you can put a face to a name, unlike with Craigslist, but you should still take steps to keep yourself safe. Meet in a public place, rather than your home or the buyer’s home, especially if you’re dealing with a large amount of cash.
As for payment, Facebook’s guidelines recommend that you stick to cash or peer-to-peer options such as PayPal to avoid bounced or fake checks. And of course, never share your financial information, such as your bank account and routing numbers, with buyers.
Buy and sell groups
These traditional Facebook groups, based around an area of interest and with a buy-and-sell feature, let you reach people outside your neighborhood. Participants refer to them as “buy-sell-trade” groups, often shortened to “BST.”
Whatever you want to offload, there’s probably a BST group for you. There are communities that sell vintage clothing, kids’ toys, collectibles and even yo-yos. If you’re trying to sell your great aunt’s fake diamond brooch, for example, search “costume jewelry BST.”
You’ll typically need approval to join a buy-sell group. You might have to fill out a questionnaire, and some groups are invitation-only. But once you’ve joined a relevant community, putting items up for sale is easy. When you make a post, fill out the fields for price, photos and a detailed description. When you complete a transaction, mark the item as sold.
There are often rules describing what you can and can’t post, depending on the group’s focus. The group should list these guidelines prominently on its page, and a moderator can remove you if you’re in violation.
Because your buyers might live far away, be prepared to pay shipping costs yourself or include them in the price. Pick a payment method that allows for easy refunds, such as PayPal or the payment system built into Facebook Messenger.
If you want to use the latter, attach a debit card to your account. Customers can send you money, or you can request it by clicking the dollar sign icon in the chat box. Once the buyer sends the money, it’ll arrive in your debit account within five business days.
Market a product
Facebook lets influencers — people with fans in a particular niche — add branded content to their pages. And if you have a few thousand followers on the Facebook hub for your website or blog, companies might pay you to post pictures with their products. You can use marketplaces like the8App and Influicity to find sponsors.
If you tag the brand you’re working with in your post, your sponsor can see data about it, including the post’s reach, or the number of people who see it, and engagement, which is the number of comments and shares it gets. This feature also lets a brand boost the post, which means paying Facebook to show it to a certain audience.
“This is good and bad because as a brand you have more control, but as an influencer it’s not a great scenario because your audience is less valuable,” says Gil Eyal, CEO of HYPR, an influencer directory.
While you’re still producing unique content for the business, sponsors don’t need to rely on your followers to reach a certain demographic. If your audience is mainly women in their 20s interested in beauty products, companies can now boost to that group on their own.
Facebook might not be the site where you have the biggest audience, and it’s only one of several platforms where advertisers could pay you to post. Find out more in our guide about how to make money on Instagram.