When the idea to have users on social media sites share their geographic location on their mobile devices popped up back in 2009, location-based engagement became a popular trend. Foursquare became one of the best-known platforms that tackled this marketing idea.

Location-based marketing gives customers incentives to “check-in” to a company’s location so that consumers automatically engage with that business.

Some platforms aside from Foursquare that utilize this technique include Yelp, Gowalla, BrightKite, Facebook, and more. No matter which platform you choose, if you’re considering developing a location-based social media campaign, use these tips to be successful.

1. Measure Your Performance

Right at the beginning of your campaign, come up with a way to measure the campaign’s performance.  State the goals you want your business to reach and identify the appropriate tools to use to measure those goals.

2. Select Your Online Venue

Select a platform, or platforms, that you want to use to create your online presence for your location-based marketing plan. Register and create an account, then “claim” your online venue. This gives you complete ownership of your venue.

3. Use A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

Figure out how to combine data from the location-based marketing systems you use along with the data from your CRM. This way, you will be able to see the social media activities that users are engaging in, along with the user interactions reported into the CRM.

4. Design Your Location Marketing Page

With each account you start for a location-based campaign, you should customize a profile page.  Current and prospective customers will want to check out your profile to get a feel for the personality behind the brand. In addition, this information is indexed in search engine databases, so people will be able to find your company more easily if you’ve filled out a profile page.

5. Adjust Your Marketing Plan

Look back to the goals you wanted to reach with your location-based marketing campaign and decide if there are things you need to change in order to see better results.

6. Adjust Your Budget

Go into location-based marketing strategy with a budget. Examine how your brand is performing with this marketing technique and make any changes to you budget in order to continue to be able to carry out the campaign.

7. Come Up With Incentives

Think of great offers to give to your users that are relevant to your brand. Incentives are what location-based marketing is all about, so you must create unique rewards for your specific target audiences.

It can be hard to start a location-based marketing campaign, but with a strong plan to stick to, location-based marketing can prove to be a huge success for your company!

2012 has been called the, “Year of Social Media.” Reports have found that 75% of marketers plan to increase their social media spending this year, and social media is expected to have a major impact on television and the presidential election.

With such high expectations for social media, you may feel like if your business is not in the social media loop, you could quickly go out of business. However, before rushing into multiple social media platforms in a panic, consider your business needs. Social media can certainly help your business, but some platforms aren’t the best options for your company, so don’t feel like you must enable all platforms.

Today, a wide variety of social media platforms exist that have various features to cater to specific needs. Come up with an effective social media strategy that will use your money and resources the most efficiently. Don’t believe the hype that getting thousands of Facebook followers, or sending out dozens of Tweets per day is the key to social media success for every business. To get the most out of social media marketing, you need to figure out which social media tools are right for you, and focus specifically on those.

First, identify your audience. You need to define whom it is you want to talk to. If you try to communicate with the most number of consumers possible, you won’t see much brand loyalty in return. If you want to engage with as many consumers as possible efficiently, you need to use different tools in different ways. Every social media platform has its own culture. They have specific tones and engage a specific type of person. This is why it is crucial for you to pick the platforms that best reach your target audience.

Next, define your social media needs. Are you simply trying to increase foot traffic to your stores? Or are you trying to see large sales increases? Maybe your issue is not so much about your customers as it is about your company’s communication techniques. All social media platforms don’t fit all business needs. Figure out what your goal is with social media for you company, and choose the platforms that best fit those needs.

Thirdly, make a plan for how you will use social media. The main goal of all social media platforms is to connect to others, but different platforms do this in different ways. Are you trying to get feedback from your customers? Are you trying to improve your recruiting efforts? Figuring out how you want to use your social media accounts will help narrow down the available platforms to the ones that are most relevant to your needs.

And finally, choose the right tool! After you’ve found your target audience, defined your needs, and decided how you want to use social media, you’re all set to choose the right platforms.

Now do the research necessary to find the right platform for you. If you want your social media strategy to be more private than a public network like Twitter, look into a site like Yammer. Yammer allows you to securely communicate private information.

If your business is trying to build a stronger relationship between its staff and outside contractors, use a platform that can be easily integrated into your business. Think about creating a Wiki or checking out a site like Huddle.

If you’re a local company, wanting to connect with those close to you, platforms like Gowalla or Foursquare give users rewards for check-ins and other discounts that will lead to more foot traffic to your store in a way that a larger platform like Facebook cannot do as successfully.

Clearly social media strategies are complicated and there’s no single, right answer for finding success. Investigate the available platforms and experiment. Find what’s working and what’s not. If you find that a certain platform is not generating results, don’t waste your time with it. Move on a focus on other platforms that are better suited for your business.