Keeping track of personal accounts and screen-names on the Internet is difficult.
Did I use this handle from when I was in university or did I use the one that I adopted in my mid-20s? Wait, for this forum, was it the nickname I used when talking about techie topics or was it my fierce gamertag I want to intimidate folks with in multiplayer matches? Did this website utilize Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare login, or did I register with my personal e-mail address and password? Aargh!
When it comes to business accounts and identities, the ramifications of picking the right place of contact become much more important. Which online business identity do you want to prioritize, and how do you want people to talk about, label, and monitor your business?
These days, it seems like businesses are encouraged to connect with their customers on as many platforms as possible. Not only do you need a website, you also need to be "in the conversation" via Twitter, broadcasting updates on Facebook, journaling your stories with a blog, sharing glamorized pictures over Instagram, pinning associated content on Pinterest, displaying your physical spot on Foursquare, and bonus points too if you're on Tumblr or Vine.
But what do you want your customers to remember? The address to your Facebook page? The @name for Twitter, screen-name for Instagram, or your website's URL? Your business card will look like the world's busiest webpage if you stick all these links on it.
So what's the one thing to highlight? Hashtag.
I feel like small businesses need to be proactive and monitor what people are saying about them. Engage them rather than wait for them to figure out how to message you. If they're posting things on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and putting the appropriate hashtag, you should be able to find their content and respond accordingly. Proactive support and engagement can lead to increased sales and satisfaction.
What's the key to figuring out what people are saying about you? Creating a natural hashtag and getting people to use it. Once content is posted with a hashtag, it should be easy for you to keep track of what's being said across all platforms.
With my restaurants, I use the hashtags #standingsushibar and #tanukiraw. I put that on placemats and on business cards, and encourage folks to include those hashtags on their postings.
So instead of needing people to remember the different IDs I have for different platforms, utilizing the hashtag would work across all.