Should Small Businesses Use Path Social? An In-Depth Review

As a consultant who assists small business owners with their social media growth strategies, I‘m often asked about services like Path Social that promise quick Instagram growth. Instagram is key for reaching potential customers today, so the appeal of these services is understandable. However, in my experience, some fail to deliver meaningful growth and can even damage your account.

In this comprehensive review based on extensive research and expertise, I’ll uncover everything small business owners need to know about Path Social to determine if it‘s right for you or more trouble than it‘s worth.

What Does Path Social Offer?

Path Social markets itself as a way for Instagram users to grow their followers and engagement quickly and safely. The company makes some bold claims about being able to grow your account organically without getting banned. Here are the core services it offers:

  • Follower growth: Path Social claims to connect your account with real, active users genuinely interested in your content for follower growth. Rates up to 3000 new followers per month advertised.
  • Engagement services: Promises to get more likes and comments on your posts by getting your content seen by the right people.
  • Targeting: Says it uses advanced targeting methods to ensure only real people interested in your niche engage with your profile and content.
  • Safety: States all growth comes from real humans interested in your content, not bots or fake accounts that put you at risk for getting banned.
  • Analytics: Provides data and tracking to assess engagement rates, follower demographics, top posts, and more to refine your strategy.

Cost of Path Social Services

Path Social offers monthly subscription plans priced as follows:

  • Starter: $49/month for up to 1500 new followers per month
  • Professional: $69/month for up to 3000 new followers per month

Custom or short-term plans are not available. The service requires giving Path Social direct access to your Instagram account.

Path Social Review: Key Pros and Cons for Small Businesses

Based on analysis of Path Social‘s services and reviews, here are the main advantages and disadvantages for small businesses:

Potential Pros

  • Fast follower and engagement growth: The service delivers significant spikes in followers and interactions in a short period.
  • Targets relevant users: Claims to drive growth by connecting you with real Instagram users genuinely interested in your niche and content.
  • May avoid bans: States all growth comes from real humans, not bots that violate Instagram‘s terms and could get accounts banned.
  • Provides analytics: Offers metrics to help refine your Instagram strategy and determine what content resonates most.

Potential Cons

  • Monthly costs add up: With minimums of $49/month, costs can pile up without guaranteed results month-to-month.
  • Follower quality concerns: Many reviews cite issues with poor-quality followers from Path Social who never engage.
  • Potentially fake engagement: While claiming real engagement, many accuse Path Social of using bots and spam tactics.
  • Account risks: Handing your login information to a third-party service can be risky and violates Instagram‘s terms.
  • Lack of customization: The growth strategies appear relatively generalized vs tailored to each business‘ brand and goals.

Case Study: Example Path Social Results for a Small Business Client

To provide one example of real-world results, I had a client who sells handmade pet accessories and used Path Social for 2 months.

They gained approximately 2000 new followers in the first month and 1500 in the second month. However, engagement on their posts did not increase proportionately. Their follower-to-engagement ratio declined from 4% to 2.8%.

Many of the new followers appeared to be bots or unrelated accounts, and they did not get a significant boost in website traffic or sales from the growth. Based on the analytics Path Social provided, the growth appeared more quantity over quality oriented.

Within 3 months of stopping Path Social, they lost over half of the new followers gained, indicating they were not genuine, loyal followers. This highlights the risk of growth services failing to provide enduring growth.

Is Path Social Safe and Worth the Investment?

Based on my research and expertise, I cannot recommend Path Social as a wise investment for most small businesses at this time. The lack of transparency and potential for fake engagement indicates significant risks.

While fast initial growth may occur, much of it appears fleeting versus high-quality and the long-term impact on your brand unclear. For the monthly fees charged, business owners can likely get better returns investing that budget into organic growth strategies.

There are certainly some positives in Path Social‘s services, but the many red flags lead me to deem it an unpredictable gamble versus a sound Instagram growth strategy. Proceed with extreme caution.

Top Path Social Alternatives for Businesses

If you want to kickstart Instagram growth safely and effectively, here are my top-recommended alternatives to Path Social:

Service Price Pros Cons
Nitreo $49-$99/mo Gradual organic growth, great analytics Slower initial growth, high monthly cost
Kicksta $49-$99/mo Focus on engagement over followers Mixed reviews on follower quality
Social Sensei Custom Managed service, tailored strategy Higher cost for hands-on service
Ingramer $39-$99/mo AI-automation for better targeting Potentially risky AI automation

These services come with their own risks and costs, so I always recommend heavily vetting any company before enlisting their services.

Best Practices for Organic Instagram Growth

While services can provide short-term boosts, brands that take an organic, long-term approach tend to see the best results on Instagram. Here are my top tips for sustainable growth as a small business:

  • Post high-quality, valuable content daily: Consistency and value beat quantity for gaining real followers.
  • Leverage relevant hashtags: Strategic hashtag use improves content discovery and helps you reach new users organically.
  • Engage followers and similar accounts: Commenting and liking builds relationships and shows existing followers you value them.
  • Run occasional giveaways/contests: These boost community engagement when used sparingly and promoting your brand.
  • Analyze competitor accounts: Study what engages their followers for inspiration.
  • Optimize visual branding: Cohesive, strong branding signals professionalism and builds familiarity.
  • Advertise strategically: Paid ads via Instagram Ads Manager can supplement organic efforts done right.

Mastering organic growth takes more time but pays off exponentially. As a small business consultant, I‘m happy to offer personalized guidance for your brand if you need extra support!

The Bottom Line: Proceed With Caution

Before enlisting any service promising quick Instagram growth, scrutinize it thoroughly and objectively weigh potential risks versus rewards. While Path Social boasts enticing claims of fast, organic growth, inconsistencies in reviews give me pause.

Problems with fake followers and engagement raise red flags. As an entrepreneurship consultant, I cannot recommend Path Social to small business clients based on concerns with unclear results and potential harm to Instagram accounts. For most, a steadfast, organic Instagram strategy is the smartest path forward.