As a business advisor with over 10 years of experience helping entrepreneurs succeed online, I‘ve seen countless cases of startup social media accounts trying to take shortcuts to grow faster. Services that promise instant followers and likes for cheap prices are tempting, but often too good to be true.
In this post, I‘ll take an in-depth look at one such service, Viralyft, that has been getting some negative buzz lately in the small business community. My goal is to provide an honest, detailed assessment of Viralyft based on reputable sources and expert perspectives so you can make an informed decision.
Buyer Beware: A Pattern of Shady Practices
Viralyft markets itself as a quick, low-cost solution for getting more followers and engagement on social platforms like Instagram and Facebook. However, looking beyond the claims on their website reveals some concerning trends.
According to over 200 reviews on TrustPilot, Viralyft has a terrible 1.1/5 rating. Analyzing the negative reviews shows consistent complaints of:
- Fake, bot followers from inactive accounts
- Extremely poor customer service response times (or no response)
- Paying for followers and likes that never get delivered
- Having Instagram accounts shut down shortly after using Viralyft
These types of issues are rampant among services selling cheap engagement. Experts warn these practices almost always do more harm than good.
Just How Cheap? Putting Viralyft‘s Prices in Perspective
Viralyft advertises cheap prices like $2.89 for 100 Instagram followers or $94.99 for 10,000 followers. On the surface, these costs seem like a bargain.
However, according to social media consultants, when you factor in the abysmal quality and potential account damages, even these low prices are too costly compared to organic growth alternatives.
For example, 10,000 bot followers for $95 may seem like a simpler shortcut than meticulously building a real audience. But followers with fake accounts and no engagement can actually harm your brand‘s reputation with the Instagram algorithm. Paying $95 for that type of meaningless growth isn‘t much of a deal.
The High Costs of Buying Fake Followers
While services like Viralyft make it sound easy and risk-free to buy followers, the reality is much different. Here are just some of the potential consequences according to social media experts:
- Plummeting Engagement Rates: Fake followers don‘t interact or engage with your content, lowering your overall engagement rate. This metric is key for Instagram‘s algorithm.
- Looking Untrustworthy: It‘s often easy to spot fake followers, making your account look disingenuous and untrustworthy to real users.
- Risk of Getting Banned: Buying inauthentic followers violates platform guidelines and could get your account shut down. Up to 14% of businesses using services similar to Viralyft have been banned according to reports.
- Wasting Money: Fake followers rarely stick around long. You end up constantly spending more for cheap followers that disappear.
- No Long-Term Growth: Inorganic followers don‘t help you build real connections and community. You end up stunting your audience growth rather than helping it.
Investing in Real, Sustainable Growth
Rather than wasting money on sketchy follower vendors, focus your time and budget on proven organic growth strategies:
For Instagram specifically:
- Post eye-catching photos and short Reels videos daily
- Use relevant hashtags so users can discover your content
- Engage with users in your niche by liking posts and commenting
- Run giveaways and promotions to incentivize follows
- Partner with aligned influencers for shoutouts
- Publish valuable content your audience wants to see
- Create and share native videos to boost reach
- Leverage Facebook groups and events to connect with users
- Advertise selectively to promote content
- Encourage shares and engagement with great visuals
- Share content that resonates with your audience
- Interact with followers by liking, replying, retweeting
- Use trending hashtags and current topics to gain visibility
- Find influencers in your industry to collaborate with
- Schedule some tweets in advance to post consistently
Are these tactics more work than buying fake followers with the click of a button? Absolutely. But they result in real, sustainable growth and an audience that genuinely cares about your brand – not just a vanity metric.
The Verdict: Avoid Viralyft and Focus on Organic Growth
Based on examining the unethical practices, terrible reviews, and real costs associated with Viralyft and similar services, my recommendation for small businesses is clear:
Steer completely clear of Viralyft. Don‘t waste one cent or minute trying to take shortcuts with shady social media growth services.
You‘ll get much better returns by sticking with organic growth strategies. Lay the foundation with quality content and value for your followers. Be patient, focused and consistent with your efforts.
If you need extra support, explore options like Later, Sprout Social or Growthoid. But avoid anything promising the world for cheap prices – it comes with too many hidden costs.
Trust that staying true to your brand and audience is the smartest long-term investment. By putting in the real work to grow your social presence organically, the genuine followers and engagement will follow.