Selling puppies on Facebook and Instagram can be a great way to reach a large audience of potential buyers with over 2 billion active users. Plus, selling puppies on Facebook is completely free! But Facebook has strict regulations about selling puppies so how do you go about doing it without risking being deplatformed or put in "Facebook jail?" In this blog post, we'll give you some tips on how to sell puppies on Facebook to minimize your risk.
The big tricky part is that Facebook does not allow private individuals to sell animals to other private individuals. Doing that will get your account suspended or permanently removed (deplatformed). What makes it worse is that Facebook is very inconsistent about regulating this, so you’ll see some people getting away with it, at least for a period of time. But keep doing it, and they will eventually get you.
Facebook and Instagram Policies
Facebook and Instagram change their terms and policies frequently, but this has been relatively consistent for years. Always check Facebook and Instagram policies for yourself to ensure you are in compliance.
There are two places you need to look for policies: Marketplace and Community Standards
Marketplace prohibits sale of live animals, period. Don’t try it.
Current policy is here and says
Animal for sale: Selling animals isn't allowed on Marketplace or buy and sell groups. This includes posting about animals for adoption.
Content that attempts to buy, sell or trade live non-endangered animals except when:
Posted by a Page, Group or Instagram profile representing legitimate brick-and-mortar entities, including retail businesses, legitimate websites, brands, or rehoming shelters, or a private individual sharing content on behalf of legitimate brick-and-mortar entities.
Posted in the context of donating or rehoming live non-endangered animals, including rehoming fees for peer-to-peer adoptions, selling an animal for a religious offering, or offering a reward for lost pets.
Instagram also prohibits the sale of live animals between private individuals, though brick-and-mortar stores may offer these sales.
So what does this mean to you?
The big catch is in defining “legitimate brick-and-mortar entities, including retail businesses, legitimate websites, brands, or rehoming shelters.”
Facebook and Instagram don’t define what that means. So you need to make yourself look as legitimate as possible in case they challenge your ability to sell puppies within policy guidelines.
Let’s break this down into pieces and I’ll suggest things that have worked for me for many years. The important thing to remember is that Facebook determines what is acceptable, not me, so if they challenge you I can’t help. But here are some best practices to increase your chances of not getting suspended (“Facebook jail”) or deplatformed (thrown off Facebook altogether).
Here are things I’ve found helps Facebook and Instagram see you as “legitimate”
The more of these you have, the "safer" you will be.
Having an LLC or other corporate entity (put it in your Facebook page name, like I do with Midwoofery LLC, for example)
Having a website. The more professional and larger your site, the more legitimate you look. Facebook can also check how long your website has been published, so do this sooner rather than later. The upside to this is that if you do get deplatformed, you have a platform (your own website) that YOU own and can keep using.
Having a Google My Business page. (This is also good for improving the traffic to your own website).
Having professional branding (logo, color palette, graphics, etc)
Having professional looking photos and videos, at least part of the time.
Having professional text on your page.
Having a good history of positive Facebook and Google reviews
Once you have done everthing you can to “legitimize” your kennel for the Facebook overlords, here are your next steps.
1. Create a dedicated page for your business.
The first step is to create a dedicated page for your dog breeding business on Facebook and Instagram . This will be a central place where people can learn about your business and thepuppies you have for sale. Be sure to include information about your business, as well as photos and videos of your puppies. Attractive photos and videos are key to selling puppies anywhere online.
2. Create a post about your puppies for sale on your business page.
Be sure to include clear photos and videos, as well as information about the puppies (breed, gender, date of birth, etc.). You can also include information about your dog breeding business, such as your mission statement or what sets you apart from other breeders.
3. Use relevant keywords in your posts.
When you create posts about your puppies for sale, be sure to use relevant keywords so that people who are searching for puppies on Facebook will be able to find your page. You can use tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner to research which keywords are most popular among people who are searching for puppies online.
4. Use relevant hashtags in your post so that people who are interested in buying a puppy can find your post more easily.
5. Respond to any comments or questions people have about your puppies in a timely manner.
If someone expresses interest in buying a puppy, be sure to send them more information (photos, videos, price, etc.) so they can make an informed decision. Facebook doesn’t make business pages very visible (because they want you to pay for boosting or advertising), but engagement from people on your page can help make you a little more visible. So when people engage with your posts, always respond and encourage more engagement.
6. Boost your posts.
Once you've created some great content for your page, you'll want to make sure that it's seen by as many people as possible. One way to do this is by boosting your posts. When you boost a post, you pay to have it shown in the newsfeeds of people who are likely to be interested in what you're selling. You can use the targeting options available on Facebook to make sure that your boosted posts are only shown to people who are in your target market.
7. Run ads.
Another way to reach potential customers is by running ads on Facebook. You can target these ads so that they're only shown to people who are in your target market and who live in close proximity to your business. This is a great way to generate interest from potential buyers who might not otherwise know about your puppies for sale. Ads are better than boosting because you can create more detailed targeting, but the Facebook ad center can be very confusing for some people.
8. Share your posts and encourage others to do so as well
Here’s another place it gets tricky. If you share posts with puppies for sale be SURE you are sharing posts from a “legitimate” business page only. Sharing posts from a personal page will endanger your account.
Your best practice is to build up your presence in places online where you can NOT be deplatformed. ANY third-party website or platform owns the platform and can dictate and interpret their policies however they want. They own it, they can do what they want.
So my recommendation has ALWAYS been to own your own platform. That means your own website. You own your website and you control it.
Improving your success
Puppy sales are also subject to market forces, which can change.
So another best practice is to find companion businesses that you can build naturally and seamlessly alongside your kennel to create additional income, especially between litters when you don't have puppies available.
If you do this correctly, you can build companion businesses with residual income that keeps flowing in for the life of your puppies. Book your free strategy call with me (no sale pitch, I promise—I'll just share what works for me and answer your questions) to learn what I have added to my program that effectively doubles the income I make on each puppy over the lifetime of that puppy.
What to do if you're reported and get a "violation" notice or suspension?
You've done everything right and someone still reports you or a Facebook or Instagram bot suspends you for a violation?
The #1 most important thing is to DISPUTE the violation or suspension. NEVER agree to it. That's "pleasing guilty" and they will not change their decision if you do that and once you do that you can't dispute it.
So always dispute. They don't always allow you to write something in your own defense, but if you have that opportunity be prepared to back up your claim and show your legitimacy.
Cite policy and explain how you are in compliance and NOT violating it
Show that you are a "legitimate brick and mortar business
Keep disputing until you run out of options
Selling puppies on Facebook can be a great way to reach a large audience of potential buyers if you do it right. Be sure to be compliant with animal sales policies, do everything you can to make your kennel look like a legitimate business, create a dedicated page for your business, use relevant keywords in your posts, boost or run ads for key posts, and utilize social media influencers to help promote your puppies for sale page!