Q&A: Alumna discusses work as a ‘GoPuff’ ambassador during pandemic

Media Credit: Courtesy of Natalie Danett

Natalie Danett, a GoPuff ambassador, said she has a newfound respect for influencers' ability to post original content riffing off brands as a result of her partnership with the delivery company.

Students use delivery services all the time, but one service allows you to show off all your delivered items for cash.

College students across the country are working to become brand ambassadors for the snack and alcohol delivery company GoPuff. The service allows brand ambassadors to make a bit of money without needing to work inside grocery stores and other food services during the pandemic.

The Hatchet chatted with 2020 alumna Natalie Dannett about her experience working as a GoPuff ambassador in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic:

How did you become a GoPuff ambassador?

Natalie Dannett: I’m working in a job that doesn’t pay a lot of money. I am doing a service year, so I earn a stipend rather than a salary, which means I make less than minimum wage, which is hard to live on…I didn’t feel safe getting a second in-person job, like working in a restaurant, working retail, things like that. So I was like, “How can I make even tiny amounts of money just to help pay for groceries or something, not leaving the house?” And I think I Googled something like “at home side hustles” or something and all these websites were like, “be an influencer!” And I thought. “I can’t be an influencer, I do not have any followers.” That’s not the lifestyle I seek, but I knew a girl from my hometown actually, who was a GoPuff ambassador. And she was much more the influencer type. She has a YouTube channel, she’s trying to make it in that space, but I was just like, “Oh, I bet that’s kind of easy.” So I Googled the GoPuff ambassador application. It was a Google form. I filled it out. And then a few days later I got an email that I was accepted.

What does your work with GoPuff look like? 

ND: For each story that I post on my Instagram, I make anywhere from $2 to $5, usually closer to $5. And that’s if you repost an image that GoPuff has made, like their graphic design team has made. If I post an image on my story that I took, like a picture I took of my GoPuff snacks, then I’ll make more like $10 to $15. And for real posts, like pictures that will show up in my feed, I will make $30 to $40 per post. So on Halloween, I was like, “I don’t really feel comfortable posting GoPuff content on my normal feed in a regular world.” But on Halloween, I was like, “Who cares? I’ll just dress up as GoPuff.”

What obligations do you have as a brand ambassador for GoPuff?

ND: As far as I know, I have no obligation to make any number of posts per week or per month or anything. So we use an app called Social Ladder, which I would imagine a lot of other ambassadors-type companies use, and it translates what you post into points and those points translate into dollars. So like I mentioned earlier, I could make $5 from an Instagram story. So that would be worth five points. And so everything I do, I have to confirm that I did in the Social Ladder app so that I can get the points and then therefore make the money. But there’s no contractual obligation, as far as I know, for me to post a certain amount of stuff. There are guidelines in terms of the photos that we can post…They’ll say things like, “If you post an Instagram post, it has to be clear, without a caption, that this is a GoPuff post.” So you have to feature the product and do so in a positive light.

How has your work affected your outlook on social media influencers?

ND: It’s harder than you think it is. Reposting pre-made graphics is so easy, but coming up with original content to showcase a thing without seeming annoying or phony, or like a sellout is next to impossible. And I think influencers with a lot of followers on the internet tend to get a lot of hate whenever they post any kind of sponsored content. But the thing is, that’s how they make their money. So I do have kind of an appreciation for people who are able to do that now that I didn’t really have before.

Can you live comfortably as a GoPuff ambassador?

ND: Well, disclaimer, I don’t know anything about business. So someone who knows a lot about business and knows a lot about trends and what’s successful would be able to answer this differently than I could. But I imagine that businesses like this will get a lot more popular and then kind of crash and burn. And I don’t know if we’re already in that much more popular stage or not. It’s just very hard for me to imagine that these companies like Uber, Lyft, Uber Eats, Grubhub, GoPuff, all of them are kind of similar, like separate from having ambassadors, delivery drivers often get the short end of the stick. So ultimately I don’t know how sustainable that is. And from the perspective of an ambassador, it’s really easy for me, but it wasn’t enough to fully be like a second income. It was just sort of a side gig for when I wanted an extra $20, you know?

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