These days, it’s hard to discuss marketing without also discussing social media. They’re nearing synonymy. With the current booming trend of using social media influencers as advertising vehicles, brands are racing to become Instagram marketing experts. And they should. Just like with any tool, learning the ins and outs of it and how to most efficiently use it is key to getting good results.

After doing our due diligence on Instagram’s platform, we’ve compiled a list of 4 actionable tips to improve your success with social media marketing.

  1. There is an optimal time to post…kind of

If you’re a brand or an influencer, chances are you’ve Googled what the best time to post to Instagram is. Is it while everyone is deathly bored at work at 3pm on a weekday? Or is it Sunday morning while everyone is hungover in bed? The answer is none of the above.

On one hand, the Huffington Post found that the overall best time was between 2-5pm on a weekday. MarketingProfs, however, found that between 1-2pm is best if you’re looking for engagement. If your aim is to drive traffic to a website, CoSchedule believes your best bet is Tuesday at 2pm.

If you’re posting onto different social media platforms, that’s a whole new ball game. Studies show that between 1-3pm is best for Twitter, 5-6pm is best for LinkedIn, 7-10pm is best for Tumblr, and 8-11pm is best for Pinterest.

Basically, there isn’t one universal golden time to post. There are many factors to consider including which social media network you’re using and what you’re looking to get out of your post.

  1. Posting consistency trumps posting frequency

How often should you post? This is a tough one. While you want to get as much visibility as possible by posting often, you also don’t want your Instagram feed to be that desperate girl that texts her crush 900 times within 10 minutes.

If you look at the brands you currently follow, it’s not uncommon for them to post once or twice a day. Some even post up to 10 times a day. In our humble opinion, that’s a bit much. Interestingly enough though, while you’d think those accounts would see a fall in their engagement after that many posts, they don’t.

The marketing tool Tailwind analyzed 100,000 Instagram posts and came up with an explanation. The more content brands post to Instagram, the more chances they have to gain likes and followers. Accounts posting more than once a day are getting more likes and are therefore growing their audience faster than accounts that post less than that. You do need to be careful though. If your content lacks value, your posts will start annoying people resulting in them dropping you quicker than Kim dropped Kris (it was quick).

If you don’t have the time or resources to produce quality content that often, stick to a consistent schedule that your followers will come to expect. Basically, one amazing post a day is better than 5 mediocre ones.

  1. You can’t ignore Instagram Stories

According to the mobile video platform, DubDub, Instagram stories posted by brands got an average of 35% more views than Snapchat Stories. Another huge stat- one story out of every five posted by brands results in receiving a direct message.

IconoSquare conducted research that found that since the arrival of Instagram Stories, 23% of users spend more time watching the stories than on their regular feeds. If it took that little time to have a shift of that many people convert over to Stories vs. feed, businesses need to take notice.

Because of this pull of people’s attention away from their regular feed, engagement rates understandably fell. This means that businesses need to adapt and form a counter strategy. The best way to do that? Follow the people. Integrating and even highlighting Instagram Stories as part of your marketing tactics is becoming essential. This can include showing off your merch, doing guest takeovers, giving followers a behind-the-scenes peek, conducting contests, using user-generated content, or posting how-to videos (Pro-Tip: people LOVE how-to videos).

  1. There is no correlation between caption length and engagement

First things first. Your Instagram caption is usually not the place to show off your novel-writing skills. No one has time for that. A general rule of thumb is to keep it about the length of a Twitter post pre-character change (about 125 characters) to best maximize engagement. Instagram only shows your followers the first 3 lines of the caption anyway so anything beyond that won’t be seen by most people.

If your post does require a lengthier description to convey your message though, there has been nothing found to connect caption length with engagement. With that being said, front-load your caption with the most important information or calls-to-action. Anything extra like mentions, hashtags, or fluff should be near the end.