We recently published an article outlining 'How To List Your Sports Cards On eBay', however that’s not the only platform at your disposal when trying to move your unwanted sports cards! In recent years, there's been a movement towards buyers and sellers listing their sports cards on Facebook groups, which not only allow you to build those hobby connections, but potentially achieve a better financial outcome than a successful eBay sale!
The big benefit of working deals through Facebook groups is that you’re able to avoid the seller fees associated with eBay listings. And because of this, the buyer is generally able to get a reduced price on the purchase, while the seller is compensated to the same value. if not more! Whilst both platforms should be used to gain an understanding on card prices and trends, Facebook groups provide a sense of community to its members that the ‘faceless transactions’ of eBay fail to provide.
In saying that though, platforms like eBay have mechanisms in place that best protect its customers from incidents such as fraudulent behaviour, which can definitely arise from Facebook groups. However, by taking the necessary precautions, i.e. reading Card Authority’s resource on ‘How To Avoid Being Scammed’, Facebook groups can be a safe place to buy and sell for all collectors! And it’s not like we’re suggesting doing anything out of the ordinary, proper due diligence when buying and selling sports cards is a crucial habit, whether it be buyer/seller research or double checking your understanding of a card's price!
FINDING THE RIGHT GROUP!
There’s no question that half the battle of having a positive experience on sports card dedicated Facebook groups is finding a group that best caters to your needs. Some important factors that you should be looking for when joining groups include; group activeness, administrator presence, community vetting, group reputation etc. It’s also beneficial to join a myriad of groups early, especially if you’re unsure of what sports card groups are all about, to get a feel for what ordinary activity looks like, how people behave, and the discussions that are brought up in different threads.
Many reputable groups have established ‘group guidelines’, which moderate acceptable behaviour of posts and activity within these groups. For example, zero tolerance to abuse or bullying, clearly stating the value of the card you're trying to sell in your sales post, packaging expectations, etc.
Another big determinant of your success in Facebook groups are the relationships you’re able to develop with other members in the community! By building these relationships, it allows you to participate in community discussion, have easier dealings with other members, and create a level of trust around your own personal brand which suggests you follow through on any buying or selling obligations!
With that being said, are there any Facebook groups out there that Card Authority would personally recommend? The 'Really Good Vibes Trading Card Community' is a page that is dedicated to the sales, trading, and discussion of trading cards, with a spotlight focused on AFL! The group vets its members prior to admission to minimise the risk of potential fraudulent activity, whilst also having strict no bullying/abuse policy which creates a safe platform for all its members!
BUYING/SELLING ON FACEBOOK GROUPS!
The only learning curve that collectors will have to encounter in comparison to selling sports cards on eBay, is the more personal experience required when buying and selling sports cards. Facebook groups have some unwritten rules which can only be learnt by interacting in the community itself. Most of these ‘rules’ are focused around being kind and courteous with other members whilst also adhering to the honour system that is entrenched within trading cards. For example, not sending blunt ‘low-ball offers’ to sellers you’ve never dealt with before, understanding that deals don’t always get done straight away and sometimes patience is required, adhering to the ‘first come, first served’ policy in terms of multiple people trying to purchase the card you’ve listed, avoiding ‘spam-listing, etc.
When organising sports card transactions, good communication is paramount. That begins with accurately describing your card in your initial sales post. Card Authority now has a dedicated resource that describes ‘What Makes A Good Sales Post?' for those who want to maximise their Facebook group posts! Beyond that, ensuring you’re active on social media to answer any quick replies or inquiries, whilst also acting in good faith is important in building that seller reputation within the community.
If you are only willing to accept certain payment methods, communication surrounding that should be brought forward early and clearly during the transaction. PayPal is a secure payment method which is usually preferred for first time buyers/sellers. So if someone isn’t willing to accept a bank transfer straight away, don’t be surprised! Also, making sure that you are shipping your sold cards within a specified time frame, which has been communicated with the buyer, is also important in regards to your community reputation!
One final thing to consider, Facebook groups don’t have an in-built feedback system much along the lines of eBay, however when group members are unsure of a buyer/seller they can ask for ‘vouches’ from other community members. This is essentially the place to validate any buyers or sellers that you’ve had positive experiences with in the past. On the other hand, if you’re the person being asked for vouches or to be vouched, it’s a lasting tick of approval for anyone who tries to search for your credentials within the group in the future!
In summary, Facebook groups are a great additional avenue to try to buy and sell your sports cards. Facebook groups and eBay can work effectively in tandem, however only through online communities can connections with other collectors be formed, which makes up most of the enjoyment of collecting sports cards!