Location-based social media platforms have been the breakout kids since last year. From Gap/Foursquare campaigns to Facebook Deals slowly building momentum, the concept is to make money via check ins to locations like restaurant, outlet stores, and other relevant spots. Companies should keep their head on a swivel because Location Marketing is the next big thing in Social Marketing.

But before you initiate your location marketing campaign, some points should be considered. Location marketing isn’t rocket science but careful and concise planning before you should take off is a must!

Here are four ways to leverage on location platforms to boost mobile strategies:

Location Equals Monetization

White Pages puts a premium on mobile services. An amalgamation of sponsored links, premium media buys, and national displays works well with local business. Sponsored local links have a CPM around $30-$50, double the effective eCPM rate for premium display ads from national brands.

Though location-based inventory will become scarce as Apple announced that iPhone apps will not be permitted to access GPS for capabilities limited only to advertising, the future looks bright with Apple’s recent announcement that it just applied a new patent for the company’s new location platform. Apple intends to patent the word “Places.” Aside from that, Apple also bought mapping company Placebase to complement their unreleased Location product.

With this in mind, the need for consumer benefit and functionality in order to access a user’s location is apparent. Geo-targeted inventory on mobile will continue to be at a high premium unless ad networks will drive it down.

Foursquare is Just the Icing on the Cake

While Facebook Deals and Google Places are notable platforms, Foursquare is the breakout kid of location platforms last year. Foursquare reached half a million active users in just a year, and what’s more surprising that they attained 100,000 users in just 10 days. No wonder Foursquare founders refused to sell the company to Google.

Though the figures are astounding, the graph below shows that if you apply a city’s share of the total U.S. population, the results show low estimates of users in their respective localities. What seems to surface is a very long tail that presents a steep, narrow graph of local user adoption. It only shows that it’s a must to attain scale to check if there’s even ROI in location marketing. The key here would be an aggressive geo-targeted campaign to broaden the reach of every campaign.

Location is the Core not the Goal

Building the best services then spicing it up with offers and deals should be the thrust of location marketing. From finding a nearby GAP store to grabbing coffee from the nearest local Starbucks when travelling, it’s essential that mobile applications whether it’s an iPhone or Android app should entice a user with a service and not an offer alone.

The real appeal of location marketing platforms is functionality not sugar-coated advertising. When you can reach beyond active mobile app users, your service is indeed taking off. It’s reaching the consumer near the point of sale.

Location Needs Mobile Fuel

Perhaps, one of the biggest threat location marketing would be mobile fuel – battery life. GPS would definitely drain batteries as users are on their phones browsing and calling. With this in mind, phone companies will emerge as role players in location marketing.

Blackberry manufacturer, RIM, encountered the energy-tax of e-mail polling which resulted to improving their phones with the best battery life in the market today. Some platforms should be carrying scheduled check in function already, but that’ll kill the very essence of real-time check ins.