In the small business community we are very focuesed on how to use twitter to expand our brand and communicate with our customers, propsects and strategic partners.  But Twitter has many other powerful applications as a search and even research tool.  

In this article for the Harvard Business Reivew, the authors present an interesting example of how larger firms can use twitter  to gather feed back from employees and customers.  Obviously for sensitve company information, you would want a more private platform, but the strategy can work for small business easily.  How? Just ask a question, and ask people to respond using a hashtag (#).  Then search for results, and all your responses will come up on one page. 

Simple surveys, opinion poles, and event product suggestions, can be tested with Hashtags on Twitter.  Give it a try, and share your results here!