It's easy to hear about Facebook and Twitter and think, "geez more yadda, yadda, yadda?". How much talking online do people need to do? For the business owner it can be as much about listening in on your customers than having to send three times the communications out to them. Let's say you don't want to have to update a Facebook page or think of multiple tweets a day to send out. These tools are equally valuable as listening and monitoring devices.
Search Facebook for your or your competitor's company name (you'll need to at least sign up with a basic account) and use Tweetdeck or search on the Twitter.com website to learn the things people are saying about you, or if they're saying anything at all.
This is great way to get start learning what social media is, how it works and how it might be useful for your circumstances.
If you read someone praising you, you'll want to know how to set up a site full of statements like that. If they're taking issue with your product or service, store or staff you'll want to know how to respond. If they're not talking about you at all you'll want to know how to get into the conversation.
There are so many ways to market online and offline that Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and other social media tools we hear about can be easy to push to the bottom of our to do list. This exercise is a good way to learn the ways in which they might become useful tools for you and your customers.