Believe the hype: social has a hold on business. Both online and in-person businesses everywhere have jumped headfirst into social media. Online merchants are among those businesses that have found immediate results within the world of social commerce. Social sign-in, Facebook stores and Pinterest wish lists are among the many places where retail resonates with social media users.

Here at 3dcart, we’ve put a lot of development time into creating social media solutions that give you the ability to engage your current shoppers outside of your website and reach out to new customers. The ability to set up a Facebook Store, for instance, is one of our earliest solutions for online merchants.

Last month, we launched a new feature as part of our Facebook Connect add-on called “Share Your Purchase.” It asks the buyer to share his or her purchase right after it’s made. Encouraging shoppers to share content like this can be a huge advantage in the world of ecommerce.

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to make content shareable on your online store.

Facebook has more than 1 billion active monthly users.

Yes, you read that right. That means about one-seventh of the entire world population has a Facebook account and uses it pretty regularly. When customers share your content with their friends, you can bet they’re sharing it with a large network.

The massive appeal of Facebook may dwarf other social networks, but don’t count them out. Twitter has more than 200 million active users—no slouch in terms of sharing power. Google+ is also growing. The dominant social networks are well populated. And your audience spends a lot of time using them. How much time exactly? Well…

Social media accounts for 18 percent of all time spent online.

That much time is actually jaw dropping when you think of how we use the web. But it’s true, and it isn’t going to get smaller. It’s nearly one-fifth of your customers’ total web browsing time. Wouldn't you want to increase the chances of shoppers spending some of that other four-fifths browsing your online store?

What these statistics mean is the overwhelming majority of your customers spend multiple hours a day perusing social media. If your store and products are nowhere to be found, you could be missing a prime opportunity to get new customers and drive more sales.

People count on social media to steer them the right direction.

According to Nielsen, 46 percent of online users count on social media when they make a purchase decision. That means a portion of that 18 percent we mentioned earlier is spent actively seeking product information. As an online merchant, you should take pains to make sure your products and brand have a presence on these social media so shoppers don’t turn up empty-handed.

If you don’t, the competition will.

All across your market, competing online stores are either starting to get involved in social media or already have a presence. If you’re lagging behind, the competition may be taking advantage.

Making content shareable ensures it lives on across the web. It greatly increases the effectiveness of your marketing and can be a huge sales driver. All you have to do is tee it up and let your customers take it from there.