To celebrate my most recent birthday, a group of friends and I headed down to Atlantic City for the night.

The morning after our night out, I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw my friend had tagged me in her post from the night before. When I stopped to read the caption and comments, I was surprised to see a comment from the Tropicana’s Instagram account saying “hope you had a wonderful night out!” My friend had geo-tagged the photo’s location as “Tropicana Casino & Resort.”

My first thought was, “wow, what a genius marketing move.” I regretted not tagging the casino in my own Instagram post. Instead, I started following the company.

A few weeks later, I was looking at my Facebook feed and noticed two of my friends were celebrating their wedding anniversary at the Tropicana. The post was also geo-tagged at the Tropicana Casino & Resort.

The second comment on the picture was from Tropicana’s Facebook account saying, “happy anniversary! Have a great time.” Upon seeing this, I immediately hit the ‘like’ button on their profile.

These anecdotes are not meant to promote one particular casino, but serve as an example of how brands can use social media to interact with customers. Each of these interactions has the potential to boost customer loyalty and keep people coming back. As a PR professional, I learned this lesson through the lens of a consumer: never underestimate the power of social media and consumer engagement.

Social media is the perfect tool to not only market your brand, but reinforce customer satisfaction and help increase customer retention. Here are just a few of the perks to having a strong social media presence:

Increased brand recognition and retention

The more you interact with consumers, the more recognition you’ll receive. A study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau shows 90 percent of consumers would recommend a brand after interacting with them on social media. Those recommendations will not only drive up unique views to your brand’s website, but potentially lead to an increase in profits. The key is listening to your customers and joining the conversations.

Better customer experiences

If a consumer takes to social media to praise or reprimand your brand, use this opportunity to enhance their experience or diffuse any negativity. Even if your brand is responding to a complaint, this tells your customers that you are listening and paying attention to their needs. Generating a conversation with your audience creates a human element within your brand, makes your customers feel special and enhances their experience.

It’s free!

Social media is the best free marketing tool out there. Make your presence known by beefing up the content on your social sites. Post, like, share and engage on your social pages frequently. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to interact with your consumers; after all, they are the ones keeping you in business.