Trade Wars

Buy, sell and trade on Twitter

The growth of social media has dramatically expanded the outlets for buying, selling and trading cards over the past dozen years. The reach of Facebook and Instagram are wide, but one often overlooked platform is Twitter.

We last gave tips for using the platform over 10 years ago. Now there’s a sale thread on Twitter for just about any card collector. On Wednesdays there is a big one for vintage baseball. On Thursdays there is another one for card art. Fridays are for vintage football.

Throughout the week, collectors can find Buy/Sell/Trade (B/S/T) threads from accounts such as I(heart)CollectingCards, stokesboys cards, Hive Cards, Escape Cards, The 24/7 hobbyand Tony Snidereach offering something a little different.

The user behind the handle THE card guy creates three to four specialized threads daily. There’s one for modern “shiny” cards. A few hours later, THE card guy publishes discussions for the Non-Sports and Fighting cards. Its discussions usually receive between 30 and 200 posts from collectors looking to sell. He was never really a seller, more a collector, but he noticed that Twitter had a visibility problem.

“Without having a lot of followers, it’s very difficult to keep tabs on your tweets,” LA Card Dude told us. “I saw this as a problem and thought that if I could get enough followers I could create a community where people could get more visibility on their tweets and in turn meet more collectors. and close more deals.”

He became popular enough that he posted a schedule, with each thread focusing on a different and fairly narrow collecting interest.

Creating a sales thread has several purposes. For a creator, it does the following:

  • Build a brand
  • Generates more subscribers
  • Monetize a thread with referrals
  • Creates a larger audience for other businesses
  • Provides a wider audience to sell their own cards

It’s in the wires, however, that the magic happens. A successful thread is usually over 50 posts and will see some sales or trades. People who post can leave comments and gain a few followers. For others, it’s an extension of the passion they have for the hobby.

“I like the idea of ​​creating a brand on Twitter, but I’m more about creating this brand to grow and help the community,” says LA Card Dude, who prefers to go through his Twitter account. “My intentions were never to monetize this, and to date I haven’t taken advantage of $1, and that’s fine. If someday an opportunity arises that doesn’t negatively affect our community, I’ll could consider it.

The success of a thread can ultimately be measured by the number of people who return.

The Twitter shopping experience has its perks. Haggling is generally encouraged and trading is viewed favorably. Buyers can request additional photos and these requests are usually met. Prices are generally lower on Twitter because sellers don’t have to account for eBay fees.

The talks also inform collectors about the current hobby landscape. Right now, the posts are full of numbered parallels, the latest Topps Update, and so many Zion Williams — so, so.

Twitter sales feeds are like real-time window shopping. They allow shoppers to scroll through hundreds of cards in minutes. As more sellers post in each thread, buyers can refresh their screens to check for updates. The temptation to buy something or make an offer can be tempting.

The account Cards with a story created a weekly vintage baseball sale thread on Wednesdays that turned into a hobby event. Sellers often tweet about the cards they want to sell hours before.

“I’ve seen hundreds of sale threads, but I never saw vintage ones as a vintage collector,” says Dylan Brennan, creator of Cards With A Story. “I figured I could change that and make one myself, because I knew so many of my followers were vintage collectors.”

The writer couldn’t resist picking them up at a recent vintage baseball sale.

Then at 7:00 PM EST, the action begins. Wednesdays with Cards with a story has become a go-to for many vintage buyers and sellers who use Twitter. The most recent thread received almost 400 replies. Card prices range from $2 to a few thousand. When an expensive card is listed, admirers compliment or talk about owning the card one day.

“What surprised me the most is how many people not only enjoy the yarn, but look forward to it every week,” Brennan said. “I have people tweeting me previews every Tuesday night and Wednesday morning/afternoon before the feed. This stuff builds hype all day long. There was a period of a few months where each thread generated over $20,000 in sales each night.

Transaction payments are usually made through Paypal or Venmo. Sellers typically ship single cards for less via a regular ‘PWE’ (plain white envelope), but may request a mail upgrade to ‘BMWT’ (bubble mail with tracking).

Salespeople also find the process beneficial. They can list their cards at more competitive prices because they don’t worry about the 13% eBay fee or the costs associated with other platforms.

THE card guy has a thread titled “We hate eBay’s fee for sales thread”. The thread encourages sellers to include links to their eBay stores so buyers can purchase the same cards below the prices they have listed there.

A 1920 Joe Beckett W529 map for sale on Twitter

When a deal closes, getting feedback from community members is unique. Satisfied buyers will often post photos of the cards they purchased with a shout out to the seller. This builds trust in the community and acts as a guarantor for the seller.

This all led to sales, trades, and a fair amount of community building. Make no mistake, card sellers have found a nice market on Twitter. But it’s the connections that users say keep them coming back.

When the account JROD Cards announced that he was holding a sale to pay for his wife’s cancer treatments, the community rallied. Others have started selling their inventory to help. Auctions were created, with all proceeds going to help the family.

“I see his tweet about him trying to sell his cards to raise money for cancer drugs, and it just crushed me,” Brennan said. “No one should ever have to struggle to pay for such important medications. I thought that instead of him selling his cards, we as a community could help him and get to where he could get his cards and the necessary medication.

Brennan retweeted JROD’s post asking her followers if they could do something together. The community responded with a resounding yes.

People gave cards to JROD so he could sell them. In one instance, a single Eloy Jimenez rookie card sold 24 times. Each buyer “donated” it to be purchased again to increase the donation amount.

In the space of two weeks, JROD thanked nearly 250 people who either participated in raffles and sales or donated items and money. The creator of Hive Cards raised over $1,000. All the while, JROD was sending cards to others called RAK (random act of kindness).

“So many people are hurting in this current economy,” says JROD. “I didn’t want to add to their struggles. That said, those who follow me, and are close, know my situation with my wife and her fight. When I posted everything we were dealing with over the past week, I was really using the platform as a way to let off steam.

“I expected to get a reaction because there are so many great people. I NEVER expected the outpouring that came.

JROD’s experience on Twitter confirmed his belief that people are good. The money collected allowed his family to breathe a little. Yet changes to his health insurance resulted in a 700% increase in out-of-pocket expenses.

“Not to be too sappy, but this is a feel-good story of a community that is just that – a community,” JROD says. “Incredible that all of this came from a community forged online, based on pictures of people on cardboard.”

On Twitter, the card-collecting experience is in constant flux. I’ve learned a few things since I got into it. Here are the things I can do with my collection:

  • Create friendships
  • Help others
  • Make money
  • Move commons
  • Create my collection
  • Bond with my children
  • Learn about the history of the sport

There are more things to add to the list. While other social media apps offer the same benefits, Twitter has proven to be a winning platform for card collectors. But, as always, there are downsides.

As with everything, there are downsides to sales leads.

Scams can happen, but not as frequently as one would expect on an open social media platform. Brennan and LA Card Dude experienced very little in their discussions.

“What surprises me the most is how few scams or bad deals are in my chats,” LA Card Dude said. “There are hundreds of comments and many transactions made on my chats every day. I have only been contacted twice with issues – and they were for very low priced cards.

Then there is the issue of payment. On PayPal, some sellers prefer to use the Friends and Family option, so PayPal doesn’t take their 3% discount. Others would prefer to use the choice of goods and services to file a claim if something goes wrong.

It might not matter much for a $10 card, but sellers are known to want to maximize their profit, even when selling hundreds of dollars worth of products.

Sometimes an organizer will promote each post by retweeting an item for sale. If they ignore someone’s message or the retweet isn’t fast enough, an organizer can be inundated with angry DMs (direct messages).

Within the community, the conversation revolves around maps. Twitter can be polarizing; it’s the vanguard of today’s culture wars. But in its social build and millions of voices, a map community can share what it likes and make friends along the way. On Twitter, collectors whose political and social beliefs may be on opposite ends of the spectrum can talk, get along, and sell, buy, or trade with each other. It’s the best social media can be.

“I think selling on Twitter is great,” Brennan says. “It’s a great platform and there’s a ton of collectors out there who are always looking to buy and sell. But I really wanted to create a feed that makes people feel safe and comfortable buying and selling from each other. But mostly to help grow an already great community.

About Horace Ruiz

Horacio is an educator and writer living in Staten Island, NY. He is the author of The White Knight: Calvin Patterson and the Integration of Florida State University Football.