The Power of Information

Today we’re speaking with Kelsey Formost of Tagger. Kelsey Formost is the Senior Director of Content & Brand for leading influencer marketing platform, Tagger Media. Her work and expertise in the digital content and influencer marketing space has been featured by Business Insider, Refinery29, Glamour, and more. This year, Kelsey was named a 'Rising Star' by industry leader Talking Influence on their 'Influencer Top 50', a curated list of the Top 50 global individuals in influencer marketing. Kelsey is also an experienced speaker, presenting at high profile events such as HubSpot's Inbound 2020 conference and SXSW 2021.



[00:00:00] Jessy: Hey guys, what is up? My name is Jessy Grossman and welcome to our new home on YouTube. So this is very new to us that we are recording the podcast in video so you can see my wonderful guest and awesome conversations that we have. We’ve been having this podcast for over, I think it’s three years at this point, the time that I’m recording this ,over 125 plus episodes and gotta keep it fresh.

So as of the past couple months, we’ve started recording the video as well. I know that for myself, a lot of the podcasts that I listen to actually do enjoy watching the video. And I love YouTube. I watch YouTube as if it’s tv, I watch it on my tv. So anyways, we’re trying something new. Let me know in the comments below if you’re into it, if you’re not, if you prefer like the audio, no skin off my back.

I’m just so curious . Anyways, this episode you guys are in for such a treat. I actually just finished our conversation. We had Kelsey Formost from Tagger on the show, and I honestly legitimately could have continued speaking with her for another hour. She’s so interesting and she really goes there.

Not only is she like candid and transparent and just like real what i love. But she really thinks about influencer marketing in a really unique way. She’s a great background in the arts, which is very interesting. And she also shows you that you can have a really cool role in influencer marketing that you might not have even known existed.

So she’s the head of content marketing at Tagger. Very cool role. She’s creating content for them, but she’s not like an influencer. She kinda is in her own right. She’s got a podcast with Tagger, a podcast of her own, but she’s also doing it for, the greater good of influencer marketing via Tagger.

I think it’s great when we can explore new roles that you might not have been aware of in influencer marketing. She has one of them. It was a great conversation. So I’m excited for you to tune in and before we do last announcement on March 23rd, 2022. Cause I don’t know when you’re tuning into this conversation. We have our next best in influencer tech event. So get excited. We can geek out over like the coolest upcoming features and awesome value ads and just like features that you might not even know about. This is a regular event that we do multiple times a year, and our next one includes Tagger as a wonderful sponsor with us.

So I hope that you go to our website. I will link it below to sign up, learn more about it. It’s completely free. Check out demos, ask questions, connect with them and if it’s a fit for you, fantastic. Maybe in the future, fantastic. Or if you just wanna learn what people are doing, check it out.

Without further ado, I would love, love, love to introduce you to Miss Kelsey Formost of Tagger. So I have on the show today . She’s dancing already. Amazing. Kelsey Formost. Thank you so much for joining us. I get your fingers. Oh my gosh, from one former theater performer and lover to another. Kelsey, welcome onto the podcast. How are you today? 

[00:03:32] Kelsey: Well, I’m so so great, especially now that we are starting this conversation, talking about theater , because so anybody who’s ever interacted with me before knows that I come from an acting background. I come from a performing background, and that’s why I love social media so much, and influencer marketing so much, because as a child, we’re just going right in the deep end, right off.

[00:03:57] Jessy: Do it. Go for it. I wanna hear. 

[00:04:00] Kelsey: As a child, I was super shy and my parents and their infinite wisdom, I don’t know if it was a sink or swim thing, they were like, okay, she’s super shy. Let’s put her in theater and force her to be on a stage and come out of her shelf. And it worked, and I was able to really have a lot more confidence.

And I was better at interacting with people. And it forced me like to get good at public speaking and responding to things in the moment. And I feel like that same, spark of gaining confidence over time through performing is actually really similar when it comes to social media. If someone is being really authentic with the platform that they have, whether it’s on Instagram or TikTok, or even Pinterest, wherever, if they’re showing up as their authentic selves over and over again, it’s that same sense of really learning who you are and feeling more and more comfortable sharing who you are, which is the core reason of why I really pivoted fully into working in influencer marketing because I think it’s like this incredibly accessible way for all of us, to learn better who we are and how we wanna show up in the world.

[00:05:28] Jessy: Oh my gosh. Well, what an incredible way to start. I , I, I want us to, so I know a bit about your backgrounds, like we’ve known each other for a bit now and have certainly connected over our past lives as, people in the arts. And so I would love to hear what that transition looked like for you, because I know that so many people get into influencer marketing in Completely different ways.

Like nobody, no one really truly has the same path that they all go down. Mm-hmm. . And even while ours are similar, I’m sure they’re different, but that transitional period is really pivotal because I wanna hear what made you decide to do it? What excited you by it? What per, like what caution did you maybe throw?

And I dunno, like what did that transition look like for you to get into influencer marketing in the first place? 

[00:06:28] Kelsey: I love this question, Jessy, okay. So I was full on theater kid growing up. I went to school. I got a Shakespeare scholarship. That’s how nerdy theater kid I was. I graduated from Davidson College with a degree in theater.

I moved to New York City. I did Broadway stuff. I came to LA to Hollywood. I did film and tv, and I had a very successful career as a professional actress, but over the years I started to get this sort of general bubbling under the surface unease where I felt, like I wasn’t able to control or affect the stories that I wanted to tell.

And more and more I found myself being drawn to writing, because with writing you get to show up and you get to, to tell the story that you wanna tell. You get to share the thing that you think is impactful rather than as an actor stepping into a role that was already pre-written pre-determined. So I started getting into screenwriting, and then I started getting into like writing, writing like personal essays.

And I started working for a digital media company called Omnia Media, in their women’s lifestyle department under a website called Make Full. And it was this D I Y website. This was what 2016. So the height of D I Y YouTube culture. And it was like the biggest light bulb went off for me because there I was a full-time staff writer and I got to, tell the stories. I got to make up the narrative. I got to teach people through videos and through my writing how to make things that, and I know this sounds so hippie, woo-hoo. But I was like, oh my God. I’m teaching them how to make something that then they’re gonna see every day in their home and it’s gonna be part of their lives.

I feel like I’m reaching people in their real life, through the work that I’m doing online. And that was the spark that really started me on the road to influencer marketing. We were working at Omnia with a lot of influencers at the time, it was mainly YouTube influencers, a lot of video, and it was so exciting.

And as I continued to gradually move away from acting and moved more into the digital content space, the more that space was maturing. I mean, Jessy, the influencer marketing industry it’s like exponential. If you think of it as a, like a chart, it’s just like a whew, like a rollercoaster just wee.

It’s grown so much, so fast and it has professionalized so much since 2016. My gosh, the difference between 2022 and 2016, it’s light years. So it’s always exciting, but the core behind it, now I’m the director of content and brand for an influencer marketing platform called Tagger Media, and I chose to work with Tagger because, the reason, like the core underneath that I love about influencer marketing is you’re connecting brands with audiences and influencer through influencers.

So that those people who are seeing the content, their real lives change because of that content. And Tagger connects the brands and the agencies with the influencers who are gonna affect the most change. So that’s where I am right now. Just loving, like any opportunity that I have to further the industry and to make those authentic connections easier, faster, better. That’s where I wanna be. 

[00:10:51] Jessy: How cool is that? That’s just I, I see so many synergies between, I don’t know what lit you up, like that spark like you articulated when you were working in theater, and I love that you have a Shakespeare scholarship, by the way. You just made my whole day by telling me that.

And yet I hear that you have the self-awareness to know like where that spark was coming from and I don’t know, I have a lot of opinions about like especially collegiate level education because, the summary of it in the briefest terms is that I just feel like, college level students especially really need to be exposed to more of what they can do based on their interests versus, especially in the theater world is like, if you are a theater major, you’re literally told, like you could be an actor or maybe a writer or maybe a director, and they’re like, that’s it.

But there are so many different types of roles, career paths, opportunities. So many ways. And I see such a through line between what you were doing and studying and what was your spark and what you’re doing now. And so first of all, just like seriously, congratulations for just listening. I think it’s listening to yourself and having the self-awareness to know that oh, this makes me feel good.

This feels right. I’m gonna, I’m gonna go in that direction. And successfully managing that transition into yeah, where it seems like you’re very happy with Tagger. So I hope that some people listening who might be in that like transitional phase can hear your story and perhaps be inspired by it or think a little bit differently about it.

So that’s great. I love that you are really passionate about influencer marketing, and that’s what I wanna dive into next. Like I know I guess I, I hear like how you got into it, and I definitely see synergies and I understand it, but talk to me also about, How you feel about influencer marketing in the state that it’s in today?

[00:13:09] Kelsey: Totally. Thank you for all of that. That was really lovely. And my ego is officially boosted. One of my biggest things I love to start with is mythbusting and the misconception that influencer marketing is quote unquote shallow, right? Like when someone hears the word influencer, because it’s been around for a while now, there’s a lot of baggage with that term.

A lot of people hear influencer, they think of, somebody flogging lipstick they think of being sold to, and in a shallow way. And that is absolutely not the truth. That is not the case. Influencer marketing to me, especially right now, is allowing brands to invest in small businesses. We’re talking, there’s a sort of change in term terminology right now that’s really interesting to me cuz I’m a huge word nerd.

I’m hearing the words creator economy a lot more than I’m hearing influencer marketing right now. And I don’t think that’s an accident. And I actually love this area that we’re in right now, this area of transition into thinking of it as an economy, creators slash influencers what, whichever word you wanna choose to describe, are small businesses, they are one person or a small group of people who understands how to build a personal brand. Understands how to market themselves ,has a financial plan, knows how to market to a targeted audience, understands analytics. These aren’t just shallow people with their phones and filters.

These are entrepreneurs with creative souls, and I think that is the most beautiful thing to invest in. And the state of the industry now, to get to the core of your original question, the thing that’s so cool is because we are now a few years into this industry. We have these tools like Tagger, like platforms that help us measure our success and better predict R O I, and really dive into the data and the science behind what makes a creator campaign successful.

We have all of these highly professionalized tools now, to enable us to reinvest in each other. To build a bridge between brands who really want to reach a specific target audience and instead of spending hours and a lot of resources, and frankly a lot of money creating their own assets that aren’t gonna land as well.

Instead, they can take those resources and get so much more bang for their buck by investing in creators, by investing in these small business owners with creative souls. And that’s where I think the industry is really taking off. 

[00:16:24] Jessy: Oh my gosh, I love that so much. I have noticed that too, that, people aren’t necessarily calling it influencer marketing quit as much, and I don’t really know when it’s shifted, but I definitely noticed it.

And I love that yeah, I agree. I don’t think it’s accidental. It can’t be acc, nothing’s really accidental. So a few things are accidental. So I, I think that’s really interesting and I, yeah, maybe it is, it’s perception is shifting around everything that we’re doing. It’s becoming more sophisticated, more respected, and that’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.

I love also like the respect that you naturally exude for influencers? They’re my favorite people. Mm-hmm. . And it sounds like you just have so much respect for them. They’re, they’re at the intersection of like artists, brilliant artists, but also entrepreneurs and business minded people.

And, we’re talking about data driven, campaigns and all that stuff. And, it’s a very interesting intersection where all of that comes together and there are fewer people in the world probably that live in that place. So it takes a really special type of person or people or industry who live there. I love to dive into a l like can we geek out for a few minutes? 

[00:17:47] Kelsey: Yes, please. 

[00:17:49] Jessy: Yes. Okay. Amazing. I was really hoping you were taken me up on that because I love, look the data piece of all that we are doing is infinitely important and something that makes the work that we’re doing stronger than, some other types of marketing or advertising.

Click through rates and being able to provide like affiliate links and oh my gosh, there are so many different data points, right? Almost so many that I feel like to certain people maybe starting out or maybe who that just isn’t there, forte could also feel a little intimidating at times.

It could be like, am I looking at the right data points? AmI, am i recapping the results of this in the right way? Am I making the strongest points that I could be making to justify the ROI of all the work we’re doing? So my question to you, are there specific data points that you think marketers may not even be thinking about that you think they should?

[00:18:54] Kelsey: Totally totally. This is all about stacking the deck, right? If you’re in influencer marketing, whether you’re new or you’ve been in it for a while, you know the baseline, data that you wanna gather. Like you know that you should understand engagement rate, right? You know that you need to have a good idea of how many followers, reach and impressions, yada, yada.

Those are like baseline. We know those, but there are a few that, especially at Tagger, we really after, I mean we work with the biggest global brands in the world and we work with boutique agencies who are looking to improve ROI, and we’ve seen every which way, every kind of campaign you can imagine. And there are data points that we really hone in on providing for our clients that I think anybody, whether you’re a Tagger user or not, can start to pay more attention to when you’re planning and executing campaigns and they’re gonna move the needle for you a lot more.

It’s just gonna make your life so much easier. One is, understanding content health and category benchmarks. Content health is just a fancy way of saying it’s how well a creator’s content is performing compared to a lookalike account. So if you have an account, you’re, let’s say you’re a brand and there is a influencer that you know has done really well for you in the past, and you’re looking for new talent.

You can look at that past campaign with the known influencer. Find a lookalike influencer. This means someone who maybe talks about similar subjects, has a similar audience similar demographics, et cetera. And you can see how that new person’s content stacks up data-wise next to the known entity. So content health, huge predictor of success.

And then if you take that a little step further and you look at category benchmarks. So rather than doing one-to-one, like one influencer to one influencer, now you’re looking at one new influencer and how they relate to their entire category. So say you are a beauty brand and maybe you are. We’re just riffing, making stuff up off the top of our head here.

Those improv skills are kicking in. Let’s say you’re a beauty brand and you focus on vegan, cruelty-free skincare, and you have an influencer you’re thinking of working with. You can compare using the right technology partner, you can compare how that influencer’s content stacks up against the entire category.

So average engagement rates of other influencers who also post about vegan cruelty free skincare. So that’s two right off the bat, content health category benchmarks. Another one I always recommend that everybody, brands, agencies, everybody looks at deeply is affinities. And that can be both brand affinities as well as audience affinities.

So what do I mean by that? An Affinity is how much a given creator’s profile overlaps with another creator’s profile. So similar to the content health, but this is about the actual person, not the content they’re posting. So if you, if one creator is really similar in their, like who they are, if they are really similar with another creator that you know has worked really well for you or your competition in the past, they have an affinity to that person and you are more likely to see success.

Similarly, looking at if that creator’s profile has brand affinity, do they talk about other brands that are similar to yours? Do they talk about brands that you would like to be similar to? Affinity is huge with Tagger. We have an entire affinity tool where you can just click and automatically see how much affinity a creator has with any given brand or any given profile.

But that’s something that you can measure behind the scenes, and it is a great predictor of success.

[00:23:34] Jessy: Can I ask also?

[00:23:36] Kelsey: Yes.

[00:23:36] Jessy: Because I am really truly fascinated by all of the stuff. I’m like a big data geek. I love just being able, if you could have black and white proof that what you’re doing is working or information back on how to improve things. I just, I like being, that makes me feel empowered. That makes me feel like I’m in control of this situation that I can communicate and point to this, not this like amorphous idea of, it’s going well. 

[00:24:06] Kelsey: Awareness, yeah, exactly. 

[00:24:09] Jessy: Yeah. So I love this stuff. I have a question for you. Like how, like the data and where it’s coming from, is it like authenticated through the platform? Like how do. If we are a Tagger user, how can we like feel confident that the information and the data that we’re getting is accurate? 

[00:24:36] Kelsey: That’s a great question, Jessy. I’m so happy you asked that because it’s something that I feel super passionate about and it’s why I work for Tagger and not a competitor. Tagger specifically has direct relationships with the major social media platforms, which means that the data we get is already authenticated by Instagram, by meta, by YouTube.

So there’s no scrape situation where data is being gathered in a nebulous manner. It is all directly from the social media platforms themselves. You can think of it in like the simplest terms as, you have a, you have the ability to look behind the curtain, just like an influencer could click on the analytics tab or the insights tab in their own Instagram app.

You now, if you are a Tagger user, you have the ability to do that. If I wanna see your data and I wanna be confident that it’s correct, it’s the exact same thing as if you handed me your phone, I opened your Instagram app and I tapped the insights button. That’s what it’s like. 

[00:25:57] Jessy: That’s pretty powerful. That’s really, really cool. I, I do I have heard platforms say, like Tagger, like we are different because we have a direct relationship with the platforms. But I think it’s helpful to like truly understand what that means. And which platforms do you guys have relationships with? 

[00:26:16] Kelsey: Instagram, Facebook slash Now it’s Meta , Pinterest, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok. I think I got ’em all.

[00:26:28] Jessy: Well, I was gonna say, right, TikTok is like the key that TikTok I was gonna ask is it TikTok? But I wanted to ask the whole list because I think TikTok is the one that people want the most from. And I assume that like the data is still though, like determined, like the platform still determines what data is available. Is that right? 

[00:26:48] Kelsey: It is, right? It is right. And we are very, the reason we’re very vocal about this is because we want creators to feel safe opting into Tagger just as much as we want brands and agencies to feel comfortable using Tagger. When a creator decides to create an Instagram profile, you have to accept the terms and conditions that’s it, right? In the accepting of the terms and conditions, you are just sharing what you choose to share with Instagram as an app, we as Tagger see nothing more than what you’ve already said okay to on Instagram. So creators are like, there’s no extra data sharing that they have to do in order to opt into Tagger as a creator, which is really important to us, we want people to feel collaborative and like it’s an invitation, not a violation of their privacy.

We also are really really, and the website speaks to this better and the left brain counterparts, and my team could speak to this better, but we have the, I do know that we have the most rigorous data privacy ,things put in place. We are SOC two certified. We’re compliant with every single country. Like we really take data privacy and ethics extremely seriously. 

[00:28:23] Jessy: Well, I appreciate that. I think that a lot of people do. I think that’s also one reason why, you know, like companies will continue to set themselves apart and because it sounds to me like you guys are thinking about like the long term play, like not the short term thing.

And I can imagine that, I don’t know, as a customer, like a, or as somebody who just recommends things to people, those are part of the things that I’m looking for like the integrity of a company and the processes that they go through.

[00:28:56] Kelsey: Yeah well, and another aspect of this is because we’re so intentional with how we gather this data, we’re so sure how accurate it is, and it also updates in real time constantly.

So with other tools, I won’t go into how other people do it, but there are tools out there where it takes a long time to update the data in their platform, even about a specific campaign that you’re running on that platform. Because they don’t have that direct relationship, they don’t have that access.

Whereas with Tagger, say you want to look at how a campaign is performing and you wanna take a look at one specific influencer that you’re working with, you can go into Tagger. And because we have that direct line, We can tell you in real time exactly what your ROI is. We can tell you exactly how your campaign is doing at that moment, not what it was yesterday, what it is right now. And that’s really exciting for marketers. 

[00:30:07] Jessy: I can imagine absolutely. So we’re talking a little bit about platforms and we’re geeking out about data. I wanna know for you, Kelsey, what platforms are you on these days? ? What? When you’re off the clock, like what do you enjoy and like maybe even, who are some people that you’re following?

[00:30:26] Kelsey: Ooh, that’s a great question. So I love Instagram. It’s just, I think it’s that millennial heart of mine. I just love. I just have spent the most time there of any platform, and that’s where I have most of my conversations. I myself have a podcast about the like separate from Tagger about the intersection of mental health and entrepreneurship and I think there are a lot. I.

[00:30:58] Jessy: Yes. Plug your podcast . I love the topic and so please tell me more about it. 

[00:31:05] Kelsey: Great. It’s called Find Your Magic. And what I realized, prior to coming to Tagger was working for Omnia, but there was a time in between where I was running my own copywriting and marketing business and called Magic Words copywriting.

It’s still out there. I still teach online courses. But when I was a full-time freelancer, I realized there were a lot of resources out there. And as a full-time creator also, like my entire business was built from Instagram. I realized there were all these resources for business and for entrepreneurship, but there were no resources for staying sane while you built your online business.

And I wanted to change that. So in the middle of last year when I was going through, we’re just gonna be, we’re just gonna pull back the curtain. I was going through a covid breakup. I was moving from the apartment and city that I shared with my partner to a completely new place. And I was like, why are there no resources for career-minded entrepreneurial women to help us, understand how to regulate our emotions when we’re in business for ourselves to have that same confidence that we might have or not have in our personal lives in our businesses. How do we invite and attract the exact right clients and repel the clients who are going to be draining to us? So I started having these conversations with other women on Instagram who were agreeing like, why the heck isn’t there a forum for this?

And I think we’ve seen it post Covid. There are so many more conversations about mental health being had now, and I really think it’s facilitated by social media. But the forum in which I decided I wanted to have these conversations, I moved from not just having them on Instagram, but having them on a podcast.

The podcast is called Find Your Magic. It is on Apple, Spotify, Google, anywhere you listen, you can learn more about it from my personal Instagram, which is @Kelsey.writes w r i t e s. And every week I have a guest who comes on to talk about how they built their business and also their mental health strategies.

Like, I just, on Valentine’s Day, I had a men’s relationship coach on to come on and talk about how our romantic relationships affect how we’re able to show up in our business. I had a coach who specialized in burnout to come and talk about how you can identify and prevent burnout. All of this comes back to the very first idea that we were talking about Jessy which is, social media when used effectively, is such an incredible place to foster true, real connection, and it’s just, I’m so grateful that I live in a time that we have that. 

[00:34:33] Jessy: Me too, girl. Like, here’s what I appreciate. I’ll tell you very transparently. I have anyone who comes on this show and is just very candid about either like a mental health struggle or just like struggling being a professional or navigating through influencer marketing or whatever the case may be.

I just, I’m appreciative. I have so much respect for it. So first and foremost, thank you for doing that. There are so many people who went through covid breakups and like absolutely, whether you’re a woman or a man, I don’t even think it’s a gender thing, honestly. I think it is, if you are going through anything difficult in life and have responsibilities, how do you navigate that?

And there are so many conversations just like that one that I am hearing spoken about more often these days, thank goodness. And if I thank very critically, I’m like, where am I hearing those conversations though? Absolutely it’s on social media and like that isn’t that, isn’t that the purest form of what social media is and like what it can do for the world?

That’s such a special thing. You have a platform and you can use it however you want. You’re talking about the vegan of our conversation, like misnomers and misconceptions and influencer marketing. It’s for people hawking product and being like self-absorbed. Well, yeah, like that.

Some people absolutely do use it for that. But all that this platform is, and building community, it’s an opportunity to do whatever you want with it and you can do that. Or you can have a podcast like you have where you’re talking about like really impactful life-changing conversations where people could just happen to tune into my show today, hear that you have the show, subscribe, or even just listen to one episode and like it could really unlock something for them.

And I love that you’re also saying that like, one of your favorite platforms sure it’s Instagram, that’s great, but like podcast, nobody really mentions that. So I love a fellow podcaster. I think also it’s a very powerful medium. We’re seeing a lot, podcasting has been around for a while.

Social audio is becoming more and more popular these days. What do you think is so powerful about podcasting or audio? What is it that really gets you?

[00:37:16] Kelsey: I have thought about this so much because I was talking to my therapist about it and I was like, the podcast has been a real turning point for me and my personal health mental health, because I feel like it’s an excuse to make people have deep conversations with me that I crave having in real life, but I don’t often have the opportunity to have, unless I call up my best friend every week and we have this super deep conversation, which happens, but, there’s just not as much opportunity A, to have these deep conversations, but B, to learn something completely new.

The human brain, if I may push my imaginary glasses up my nose, the human brain is actually wired to desire new information. We want to know, what is going to make us happier, better survive, more effective? We love anything that tells us it’s a hack, right? So podcasts are an opportunity I think to close that loop where we see, oh, I baseline really identify with this person’s style.

I like how they show up in the world. I feel like they’re a friend. And in addition, I’m learning something. So biologically our brain goes, oh, a sense of love and belonging. Check. Oh, learning something new that’s gonna help me improve my life, Chuck. Maybe there’s there’s so many elements about audio where you can hear and feel the emotion behind what is being said in a way that you simply can’t when reading or looking at a picture.

And I think it really speaks to that biological need in us to connect with each other, to understand how other people are feeling, so that when we recognize those feelings in ourselves, we feel less alone.

[00:39:28] Jessy: It’s, it’s, it’s very like, primal almost. 

[00:39:31] Kelsey: It is. Right?

[00:39:33] Jessy: Right. And if you look at like history, like society over time, it’s all, it’s storytelling has existed since like the dawn of time, and it’s interesting though, we’re recording right now on video and it’s a newish thing for us, but we’ve always just done audio and most people listen to this show through the podcast platforms. YouTube is not a, absolutely not one of our like, highest trafficked areas. And I’m, and know, I think it’s also take off your producer hat or performer hat or whatever.

 And just as a consumer, I’m similar to you, I also love audio. I love listening to people and I subscribe to podcasts, so many that I check in more often with those influencers than any other on, on other platforms. And I am hooked and I feel things more with those people than anything.

I think that it’s because it’s, off the cuff, like , sure people highly edit podcasts, but I don’t like those . I like them one. 

[00:40:43] Kelsey: Well, that’s the thing, right? That’s the thing. So social media in the way that we’ve been consuming it in the past few years, it’s that quick hit, right? It’s like the trailer, it’s the teaser.

And a podcast or a longer form piece of social media content is the opportunity to expand on that, right? So if you think of a TikTok video, that’s like the trailer to who you are, but then if you listen to the podcast, that’s the whole movie, right? That’s the whole story that you get to really live in and live through with that person who you’ve come to know and love.

And I think that both are important. Our attention spans have gotten much shorter. We know this again, biologically. Science, nerdy. I know that if somebody is just being introduced to me or to a company, they have a very short window of time when they decide whether or not they wanna interact with us.

But once they do decide to interact with us, we need to make sure that we have multiple ways for them to connect with us, to interact with us, to consume our content. That’s why I love content. So my entire job, director of content and brand, because content in all of its various forms is how we again, hippie, woohoo sounding.

It’s how we befriend each other. Right? You’re listening to those podcasts that are more off the cuff. I listen to Armchair Expert and I’m right there with Dax and Monica like laughing when they laugh, learning what they learn, I freaking love it. Or I’m there with Glen and Doyle on we can do hard things sobbing in my kitchen as she talks about her eating disorder relapse. These are our friends. I’ve never met these people, but they’re my friends.

[00:42:44] Jessy: Yeah. I they are. I know what’s interesting too is of course there has been this shift and the sentiment out there is that people are really only interested in short form content. TikTok expanded videos to be as long as three minutes and nobody even comes close to that.

It’s actually like the shorter the better gets the best engagement, but, first of all things like that like generalizations are never true across the board for everybody. So let’s like just take all this information with a grain of salt, but also what I heard you say, or maybe I’m just like putting my own spin on it and my own opinion is, the short aspect of it perhaps is maybe just to get them to hook them. But once you find that connection, maybe people are craving more long form content. Right? I just think personally, and I’m like, not like I, there, there’s a time when I wanna go on TikTok and it’s crazy addictive and I will just consume short video after short video.

But what actually happens more often for me personally is that like I’m listening to those podcasts long form I’m on Clubhouse and other social audio, like listening to longer conversations and and so yes, like maybe the hook is short, but let’s give each other credit too and say no, we actually have longer attention spans and perhaps we’re all alluding to maybe it’s, once you have ’em, then I want more.

[00:44:28] Kelsey: Totally. And I think that’s a really cool idea of like short form content is maybe how we filter who we wanna spend more time with. Maybe it’s if we think of it like dating, right? If something sparks our interest and then we go to someone’s whole profile, or we go to a creator’s website, or the space where more content is, we can decide whether or not we are a fan of that person over time.

Whether we identify with the content that they’re continually putting out versus just the one, right? What is the thing that makes somebody hit the follow button versus just seeing it come up in their feed, right? That’s the magic to me. 

[00:45:18] Jessy: I agree. Do you think that short form is healthy like, do you think that it’s like healthy to keep our attention span so short? I don’t know ,you’re not a doctor, you’re, like, I, I would be mindful of that of course neither am I, of course but, 

[00:45:37] Kelsey: sure.

[00:45:38] Jessy: I don’t know. Like when you’re consuming content and you’re like in the best mental place, are you consuming long form content or short form content, or does it not matter? 

[00:45:48] Kelsey: Ooh, this is a really interesting question. I love this. Okay, so forming an opinion in real time, here we go. I think that short form content and shorter attention spans are inevitable. I think that is the trajectory of where society is going, and I don’t necessarily think it is positive or negative. I just think it is right to be super Zen Buddhist monk about it.

I also believe it is true that our desire for deep connection and deep knowing is never going to go away. And I think that it’s simply, I wish people could see this. I think that it’s an expanding spectrum. I think that before maybe it was like a shorter window of possibilities, like there were fewer ways to connect with each other, and now there are so many more ways to connect with each other.

I don’t think it’s unhealthy to enjoy short form content. I think it can be entertaining. I think it can spark creativity. I think it can be like a quick hit right? Of joy, which is great. Quick hits of joy are awesome. But I also think we’re never gonna stop craving, that longer relationship with a creator, an artist who continually makes us feel seen and less alone.

And that’s where if you have a favorite musical artist, you can hear a clip on TikTok and love that song. But there’s also a possibility where you get to know that artist and you buy every album over time. You go to the concerts, you become a fan, right? Both have value. I think there’s potentially just fewer, fewer parking spaces.

I don’t know why I can’t, I have that sort of image in my head of we can’t give ourselves over as full fans to more people. Like we have a smaller capacity for those kinds of relationships, but we have a bigger capacity for appreciating art and quick succession. 

[00:48:19] Jessy: That’s so interesting. I appreciate that. I love that perspective. It’s really interesting. And I, I’m gonna I wanna ruminate on this more. I think it’s a really interesting conversation. I’d be curious what our listeners think too. I don’t know, I’m also like someone who’s was diagnosed A D H D at the age of 34 , right?

So I’m also on my own personal journey of trying to be able to focus on one thing at a freaking time. And being able like to, so look, it obviously depends on who you are. For me, I would love to be able to focus and appreciate, enjoy and love one long piece of content, for me my brain is like that ain’t happening.

That, and I see my six-year-old too the more she is bouncing around on, video after video and can’t finish one and can’t finish a song. And she’s saying, Alexa, there’s Alexa that changes on, I’m like, Oh my God, like I’m gonna kill you right now. I just wonder. If you have to train your brain a little bit.

I find all this fascinating. I don’t know the answers to any of it, but I do think it’s an interesting conversation to have. And of course it, it like, as much as it’s interesting to talk about in theory in theory, absolutely, it relates to the work that we’re doing too.

[00:49:49] Kelsey: Oh my gosh. It’s completely, because that was the thought that I just had when I was like, we have fewer parking spaces for people that we want to be big devoted fans to.

And those are the people that brands and agencies are gonna wanna find. Like you, you’re basing campaigns, you’re basing business decisions. Not on was one video funny? Did that one like moment spark joy for someone who’s a target audience member of mine? No. You wanna find someone who has devoted fans who know and trust them and have grown to know and trust them over time so that when they do release content, when they do put out a new video, when they do put up a new post, when they do put up a new blog, when they do put up a podcast episode, that audience member gets excited and they think, oh, yay, something from my favorite person. And then they hear or see content that might be a partner partnership content or branded content. And they know, like and trust that brand because it’s coming from someone that they know and trust already.

[00:51:11] Jessy: Absolutely. I, look, part of me wants to create as many best practices for influencer marketers as possible to make our lives and our jobs easier. But, I’m aware that we aren’t a business of dealing with human beings . And it is a lot of our, and there is science to it. And that’s where we use great platforms like Tagger, for example, to get the data and analytics. But like a lot of it is also like testing and learning, right? And I feel like that is part of the real power of the data because I, I don’t believe in failure. I believe that thing, like we’re taught lessons and it’s not failure, it’s feedback. 

[00:52:05] Kelsey: Yeah.

[00:52:05] Jessy: I think that the data that we get, like it’s not necessarily to say that this was successful or unsuccessful, it’s information and in addition the best influencer marketers, in my opinion, take that data, but then do something with it and continue to then get more data and learn and test so, I would just love to hear, I unfortunately, I feel like this is probably one of the last questions I’ll get to ask before little fun on time. I feel like I could talk to you for a long time and we’ll hop,

[00:52:40] Kelsey: I’ll come back if people want me to come back, I’ll come back. 

[00:52:43] Jessy: Yeah, I would love to have you come back, but one of my last questions for today cuz we are running outta time sad face is like, what other ways do you think that people could take influence their marketing to the next level? 

[00:53:01] Kelsey: Hmm. Okay, so something I’m really interested in right now, not just myself but Tagger as a whole, is how marketers can not just, get data about the conversations that are happening, online in their ideal forums, but how do they use that to contribute to the conversation?

Right? So, I’ll explain a little bit more about what I mean. So we just launched this new tool called Signals, and it is the first ever, it’s the first of its kind really so we’re really trying to figure out how we best describe it to people. And what we came up with is it’s a creator listening engine.

And what that means is, if you think about traditional social listening, it’s just like this huge as Bo Burnham says, can I interest you in everything all of the time? It’s just everything’s swirling around you and you’re just like tuning into different radio stations, right? The Creator listening engine that we’ve built on Signals helps marketers, automatically hone in on the conversations that matter most by the people who are moving the needle the most. So what that means is someone can go into signals, and understand what these conversations are, take that data and start to think about, okay, how do I amplify the messages that we care about most?

How do we contribute to this conversation in a positive way? What is the direction? Like, where are our audiences showing us they want to go? How can we help be their tour guide, right? Or how can we help be along for the ride and contribute to the conversation, move everybody forward in a positive way?

And I think that is so exciting because. Yes, it’s important to understand the data behind influencer marketing. Yes, it’s important to understand how to measure your R O I and have the data that matters most to you. But the, but what’s so incredible is understanding immediately how you fit into that world, and how you can contribute to conversations that are happening online in a way that is positive, in a way that is productive, in a way that is going to make the people you most want to connect with, feel connected to you. I think that is the future. 

[00:56:01] Jessy: That is so good. I was like, damn. Drop the mic. 

[00:56:09] Kelsey: Thank you for coming to my TED talk. Everybody.

[00:56:11] Jessy: Right? That’s good. Yeah, that’s fascinating. I’m excited. I think that that’s, that if I could sum up what I’m most excited about and what I like, I think what whim is trying to achieve, what I’m trying to put out there in the world is like, how do we take all this to the next level?

Like how do we really continue to just dig deeper to make it better, to just think innovatively. And I am grateful to companies like Tagger and also just to you for having these conversations, putting the tools in our hands and hopefully conversations like the one we’re having today will just spark more.

More conversations with others so we can continue the momentum that we’ve already grown as influencer marketers. So I am so excited that we are actually inviting Tagger to join us in presenting a little something exciting at the best in influencer tech event. That’s one of our like most popular events, virtual events.

It’s happening on March 23rd, 2022. Are there any other events that Tagger’s participating in, because I feel like people would love just for follow what you guys are up to. 

[00:57:27] Kelsey: Absolutely. Well, first of all, any events, depending on when you’re listening to this episode, you can find the most easily on our LinkedIn page.

You can find us at Tager Media, T A G E R. You can also find us at Tager Media on Instagram. We’re, we’re on TikTok too, but we most update LinkedIn and Instagram with those event info. Any events that we’re doing we’ll put them up there in plenty of time so you guys can sign up. But if you’re listening to this when this episode comes out we are gonna be in New York City at the Youth Marketing Show, Y M S on March 22nd, and we’re going to be, I feel like you would really love this, Jessy.

We’re gonna talk about myth busting or myth busting, influencer marketing. And we’re talking about what actually matters and what you can also ignore. What’s outdated in terms of how you put together a campaign or competitive analysis or like influencer contracts. What’s, what can you let go of and what should you actually be paying attention to?

Basically mythbusting making lives easier. We also have some really, fun cuz you know me, director of content I’m into like all the content Tagger puts out. I want people to learn something and I want them to feel entertained. I call it infotainment. I never want our stuff to be buttoned up and boring.

So at this event on March 22nd in New York City, We’re gonna be, we’ve invited Bob’s Dance Shop to come and teach us a TikTok dance routine. We have a standup comedian doing a set on influencer marketing. We have an influencer panel where we’re gonna ask influencers, what are the things you wish that brands or agencies knew?

What questions do you wish people would ask you? What are pain points for you as an influencer? How can we do better? We also have a panel with brands. How have you guys seen success? What has been like a surprising thing that either was positive or negative for you in the last couple of years? And then I’m gonna be given a spiel on myth busting myself.

So if you wanna, at the very least, come see me, you know on stage and you’re in New York City, come say, hi.

[00:59:56] Jessy: I wanna see you on stage. I’m so excited you’re coming to New York. I’m in New York, will be there. I, I have to be there. I’m so excited. And I love that you’re like taking these events and putting such a spin on it and making it entertaining cuz I don’t know, people, like, it’s, it’s why we talk about content all the time.

Like for people to soak in stuff. Like they have to be entertained or like some sort of valley to it, some sort of fun. And like, yeah. And so I think it’s so cool that you guys are bringing like a stand of comedians. I’m gonna teach like I’ll be there a thousand percent. I’m excited about that. I didn’t even know about that. 

[01:00:39] Kelsey: Well, i mean, that’s a pillar of influence and marketing that I think is really overlooked often, which is that humans are biologically wired to remember things that are put forth in terms of story or that are put forth in terms of experience. If you give somebody a textbook and you say, memorize this textbook, or memorize these facts, then they’re not gonna remember them. 

Or they’re gonna have a really hard time remembering them, even if they’re trying so hard, right? Even if those facts would help them in their lives. But if you put it in the context of a story, if you say, if you talk about a specific woman who was accused of the Salem Witch trials and go through like her entire life story, we’re gonna remember that more than, these are the names of the people who were accused of witchcraft, which I don’t know why that example came to my head, but , we remember experiences.

We remember stories more than anything else. So I always try to bring that, to the table instead of just standing up at a conference and like going through boring ass slides. I want people to remember the story. Reememb, be entertained. Remember the experience. So that they can actually use the things that we’re giving them. Use the experiences. 

[01:02:06] Jessy: That would that would be nice, right? That would be nice.

[01:02:08] Kelsey: Wouldn’t it? Be nice influencer. At these conferences, 

[01:02:17] Jessy: We’re gonna create like a little traveling show, fun, influencer marketing performances, events, like live experiences that include our theater background and fun because we both love influencer marketing. Like I adore you so much. Like I, I like, I, I don’t know. I think that it’s first of all, I’m just, I think it’s awesome. I’m so excited for you to be at such a great company to be doing so well in your career. 

[01:02:50] Kelsey: Thank you.

[01:02:51] Jessy: I love your outlook on influencer marketing. I love like the conversations and just where your mind goes. Like just take me to another level, thinking about it differently. I appreciate that so much. So, thank you for coming on today and just like going there with me and having these interesting topics. I wanna definitely have you back on. 

[01:03:12] Kelsey: Great. 

[01:03:12] Jessy: So fun. If people want to connect with you, what’s the best way for them to reach out?

[01:03:19] Kelsey: You betcha. So if you wanna know more about Tagger, again LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok @taggermedia, T A G G E R. You can also get a free demo of our platform@tagermedia.com. So come hang out with us on any and all of the platforms, and if you wanna know more about me and connect with me personally, Instagram is probably the best place to do that.

And I’m at Kelsey dot writes. It’s k e l s e y dot w r i t e s. Send me a dm, let me know you found me through the WIIM podcast. 

[01:03:55] Jessy: Please take her up on that. We’ll obviously link everything in the show notes below. Kelsey, thank you so much. You were so fun. And I’m just excited for our members and our watchers on YouTube to reach out.

Kelsey’s awesome and you will not regret it. So thank you everybody for tuning in, and we will see you next week.

Kelsey Formost

Senior Director of Content & Brand, TAGGER MEDIA

Kelsey Formost is the Senior Director of Content & Brand for leading influencer marketing platform, Tagger Media. Her work and expertise in the digital content and influencer marketing space has been featured by Business Insider, Refinery29, Glamour, and more. This year, Kelsey was named a ‘Rising Star’ by industry leader Talking Influence on their ‘Influencer Top 50’, a curated list of the Top 50 global individuals in influencer marketing. Kelsey is also an experienced speaker, presenting at high profile events such as HubSpot’s Inbound 2020 conference and SXSW 2021.

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