Facebook Takes Craigslist Head-On with Marketplace

In a move aimed to compete with the likes of Craigslist, OfferUp, and LetGo, Facebook is rolling out a new service designed to help users buy and sell things in their local community.

Arriving first in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, Marketplace is an extension of Facebook’s existing For Sale groups feature, which the social network says is used by 450 million people each month. In a nutshell, Marketplace lets you search for things that people are selling nearby, which could be anything from furniture to books and electronics.

marketplace-2Available through the existing Facebook apps on Android and iOS, Marketplace is accessible through a shop icon at the bottom of the app. Inside, you’re presented with a grid of photos of nearby items listed for sale. Additionally, you can list an item for sale directly through the app.

The app also permits negotiating, allowing potential buyers to contact the seller to make them an offer. It’s worth noting here that Facebook doesn’t get involved in the actual transaction, so the payment will need to be made in cash, or through PayPal or an alternative digital payment system. This is an interesting move for a company that has moved to integrate just about every platform into their messenger product, from ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, to payment apps like Cash and Venmo.

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Marketplace is basically just like Craigslist — the perennially popular classifieds website that has been the default buy-and-sell platform for millions across the U.S. since 1995 — or like Britain’s eBay-owned Gumtree. Certainly, it makes sense for Facebook to make further moves into this space, as it has north of 1.5 billion users globally, and it could achieve real scale quickly. That Facebook is giving Marketplace a prominent, dedicated tab all to itself is also indicative of how important it deems this new service to be.

The new feature will be available in the aforementioned countries in the coming days, with additional markets added in the future. It will also be included in the desktop version of the app “in the coming months.”

Facebook Marketplace Launch Video

7 Tangible Skillsets That Make You a Rockstar Job Candidate

7. Proven Technical Writing Ability

No, I’m not referring to the science fiction short stories that you put together when you went through a phase after reading “Ender’s Game” for the first time.

While no doubt exhibiting a level of creativity, that type of writing isn’t exactly marketable for the broad host of companies that are actively seeking to hire in this saturated market.

Rather, I’m referring to analytical, fact-based writing, devoid of flowery details, which highlights specific results while fostering a discussion without bias.

Writing in the vein of experimental research reports and having those reports published demonstrates that you have a sufficient grasp of the English language and the aptitude to provide a professional-level report.


6. Statistics

Everyone entering the job market should have a sufficient, elementary understanding of statistics. Things like averages and statistical significance can prove to be vitally important for decision-making, both professionally and personally.

Cost-to-benefit analysis on your purchase decisions can shift your personal finances to healthier levels and can give structure and reasoning to whatever judgments you make.

The scope of statistics in the workplace is so broad that there is really no way to explain its value beyond saying every single market in every single industry uses it with intense regularity.


5. In-Depth Software Familiarity

Writing “Microsoft Word” or “PowerPoint” on a résumé as one of your skills is redundant. Nascent sea otters understand how to use these modules.

On the other hand, a solid grasp of Microsoft Excel, Access, Publisher and other less widely known programs is valuable and somewhat unique.

Having a breadth of experience working with commonly employed software (other than the obvious ones, like the aforementioned MS Word) will show you that you can work your way around computers sufficiently, which is a standard ability in today’s workforce.


4. People Skills

This may seem qualitative, which as I mentioned, I’m trying to avoid, but having the ability to interact in a professional environment with minimal awkwardness is what separates you from a paycheck or the front door.

For in-demand fields, where the majority of applicants come from technical backgrounds, this is paramount.

I’m not suggesting that you change your identity if you are an introvert by nature, but be well versed enough to understand that the extreme version of that personality type isn’t exactly lauded in many professional environments. Learn to interact with people.

This should go without saying, but social ability is a huge trait that is rarely paid the attention it deserves.


3. Specific Industry Familiarity

I know this looks nebulous, but let me explain: You should be familiar with the industry into which you are seeking entry. If you are going to work in a publishing house, you should know the top players in the overall market.

If you are going into finance, you better believe they will expect you to know their top competitors. I classify this as a tangible skillset because you must actively learn and integrate it into your life if you are set on entering one specific industry.

Not only does it show qualitatively that you are aware of the competitive landscape, but it also lets the employer know that you are enthusiastic without explicitly mentioning it.


2. Reading Comprehension

Why is this so high on the list? You would think it is obvious enough, but spend five minutes on the comments section of a popular article and you will find that most people have trouble interpreting what they actually read and then hate-write from a position of ignorance.

This is extremely important if you’re dealing with reports that aren’t explicit with their results.

Things like yearly revenue details, research publications and even sarcastic columns all require a fundamental level of reading comprehension that has somehow escaped so many people who are trying to find work.


1. Programming Ability

Increasingly, companies across the entire job market are integrating, or have already meshed, their business with an online presence that the staff maintains.

You will become instantly important if you can understand the back and front ends of the language used to program the sites, databases and whatever else is relevant to the company.

Ability to code in C++, JAVA, Drupal, MATLAB and a host of other languages demonstrates that not only can you add value to the online presence for a company, but also that you are sufficiently intelligent enough to grasp the logic behind the coding languages.

Additionally, if you plan to work in an analytical field, you can design experiments and basic software that will allow you to complete your tasks with much greater ease than powering through everything manually.

If you weren’t exposed to this in college, consider learning for free through the vast offerings of online-only classes that teach you the basics of coding with step-by-step modules.

High school students are enrolling in computer science classes, which means that when they enter the job market, many will likely bring a standard level of programming ability that is otherwise still missing from the overwhelming majority of Generation-Y job applicants.

Protect your future self by becoming versed in a code language or two.

Social Media and SEO Smackdown: Comparing Social and Search (Infographic)

Though SEO and Social Media both pertain to hugely different aspects of any online presence, their philosophies and core goals often go hand in hand. When cultivating an SEO/Organic Search strategy, you should always have your Social Media goals and expectations in mind when shaping your decisions.

The infographic below from Orbit Media Solutions gives you 7 differences between social media marketing and SEO, while also demonstrating why they complement and depend on each other in so many ways.

 

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Blog Boot Camp: Revolutionize Your SEO and Social Media Metrics in 30 Minutes a Day!

As a longtime blogger, I know from experience how difficult it can be to maintain a regular schedule of fresh, new content. As other priorities in life come up, blog entries can fall by the wayside. But as any competent internet marketer will tell you, consistency is extremely important when building (and maintaining) a fanbase online. Ensuring that you are continually producing new and original blog content has the natural direct effect of increasing readership, generating new organic search traffic, which in turn increases organic SERP performance, and the cycle continues. Using these easy tips, you can help stave off lazy blogging, and ensure that you are posting fresh, new content every single day-no matter how small the content may seem.

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Blogging is a Muscle. Flex It.

Like most hobbies, be it soccer, video games, playing guitar, etc., practice is the key to constantly improving. By simply going through the motions of creating a blog entry, you are exercising and challenging your brain to create something out of nothing. Don’t sell yourself short-writing of any kind is an amazing feat if you really think about it. The ability to take an idea, a thought, or a feeling, and convey it in a way that other people can understand and appreciate is a gift. Even if your entry for the day isn’t Pulitzer Prize winning writing, it’s writing nonetheless. And more importantly, it’s yours. Build a body of work, if for nothing else, but for your own practice and self-satisfaction.

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You Don’t Have to Write a Novel.

Not every blog entry has to be a long-form, mind blowing expose on a hot topic. Sometimes, it’s okay to write a quick entry that may include nothing more than a few thoughts.

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Industry Related News and Blogs are your Friend. Use Them!

If you can’t find something to write about, turn to the news. Read up on current events that pertain to your blog or your field of expertise. At the very least, you can come up with some compelling thoughts on an article or story you’ve read, and you can in turn share that content with your audience while still contributing something useful to the overall conversation.

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Use Rich Media to ‘Beef Up’ Light Blog Content

If your writing is feeling a bit skimpy, use some rich media elements to add a bit of heft to your entry. Now, don’t use images and videos as a crutch to supplant less-than-awesome writing, but in a pinch, filling a little dead space with rich content is better than a blank, white page. Try to use complementary media, not just media that reinforces what has already been said. Find interviews from parties with counter-views to provide context and scope for a story or opinion you’ve written. Or perhaps find some file footage that provides some added illustration to get a point across. Rich media can be your friend, if you use it intelligently.

 

Now that we’ve covered a few basics of philosophy when it comes to consistent blogging, I’d like to show you an additional resource: my 30-minute framework for Social Media consistency. Maintaining your Social presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., is an integral part of your content machine. After all, if you don’t have anywhere to share your content, what’s the use in building it?! If you follow this 30-minute Social Media and Blogging Regimen in conjunction with one another, you should see consistent, natural growth of your audience, content views, shares, and social media engagement! (Remember: If your content sucks, your results will too! I can’t make your content high-quality with the snap of my fingers, but I can help you leverage that quality content to squeeze the most growth from your effort.)

Your 30-Minute Social Media Framework (7-5-7-5-6)schedule-your-way-to-a-better-blog

  • 7 Minutes – Review community activity from past 24 hours, and engage with audience members via likes, shares, and/or comments on content.
  • 5 Minutes – Discover new influencers to follow that are consistent with your interests and blogging topics, and connect via follow, friending, etc. Review any existing inbound friend/follow requests
  • 7 Minutes – Respond to audience communications (comments, @replies, likes, etc.) Demonstrate to your audience that you are active, and genuinely engaged on a daily basis.
  • 5 Minutes – Research new content/articles to share with your audience from influential sources (blogs, tastemakers in your industry, news outlets, Twitter trends)
  • 6 Minutes – Aggregate, Schedule, and Share your content. Compile between 2-5 posts to stagger throughout the day, between third party content and articles, and your own blog content as mentioned above. Utilize scheduling tools like HootSuite, SproutSocial, or Klout will allow you to queue content to be automatically posted at a set time.