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Sinan Sahin: Running a Micro Influencer Marketing Agency that Cares About Influencer Mental Wellbeing

Micro influencer marketing is affordable. Small businesses can plan it more effectively than they would if working with celebrities of whom they can only afford one or two each year. Understand what a micro influencer is and what your small business can expect to gain from them in return. Don’t expect direct sales straight away from micro influencer marketing but rather improved reach and engagement.

Sinan has a bachelor’s degree in psychology. 

“Big part of my dissertation was on how media has a significant impact in people’s behavior. A lot of it was around the areas of media violence, how it affected people’s aggression levels. But also how pro-social messages could also change people’s behavior for the better. Swiftly after, I moved to clinical psychology working with psychosis and schizophrenic patients.”

micro influencer
Sinan Sahin

He thereafter worked in recruitment for about 6 years then moved to motivational speaking. 

“I’ve worked around Europe in many universities giving motivational talks to young people, ex-convicts, people battling drug and alcohol abuse, people suffering from certain challenges in their lives that diminish their confidence and self-esteem. After quite some time, I realized I have a gift of speaking, motivating people and, based on my background, making a difference in society.”

Sinan moved into the exhibition space and founded the business.

“I was helping some friends. They needed promo workers to get people to visit the stands. And I’ve done very well on that. A friend of mine said “You should make a business out of it.” I had enough of working nine-to-five. I was like, “I’ve got all these skills. I’m excited about events. I’m excited about social media and its impact on people. I’m going to bring it all together.” So in October 2019, we founded the business but it really restarted around February 2020.”

In March 2020, COVID-19 restrictions saw the suspension of events, exhibitions and shows. Sinan switched to online marketing and influencer marketing. 

“It was probably the best thing that could have happened in as much as it was the worst thing that could’ve happened in terms of the world. It made the small businesses we worked with realize they needed to have an online presence and they needed to work with influencers. Before, they had to rely on the shows and TV marketing and magazine but never really online or influencer marketing. We got timing right. People’s mindset was changing and shifting to online marketing just as we were starting the business.”

Sintillate’s Objectives and First Annual Review

The business has three main objectives.

First, developing micro influencers, building their confidence and self-esteem. The micro influencers Sintillate works with have anywhere between 3,000 and 150,000 followers.

Second, growing small businesses. 

“We do not work with the likes of Nike and Adidas. They are too big. They have their teams and resources. We help small businesses owners understand the minefield that is influencer marketing which is such a new thing.”

Third, connecting teams.

“We bring influencers together in board rooms, in team campaigns. So they work together creatively to create better content. We find that creativity does rise with people. The more people working on a project, the more creative the project. The team campaigns mean they do not feel isolated. They are together. That they are working toward the same goal. They feel better, mentally positive, good energy around them. That is such a difference than if you are sitting at home in your bedroom wondering whether to put a picture up, that you didn’t get enough likes, that someone trolled you, that you received a bad comment. That is going to have a significant impact on your mental health.”

On February 23rd, 2021, Sintillate did the first review of its annual performance.

“The numbers that we generate as a small business were significant in terms of our level. We generated 2,011 assignments within one year. We worked with about 425 influencers on our books. We have worked through about 126 brands worldwide. Our retention rate is significant. We have 4 to 5 percent drop off in terms of talent leaving us. Most times, they leave us because they become too big for us and are moving to bigger and better things. We get about 100 applications from influencers per week. Our intake is 1 percent of that since we have to keep it at specific supply and demand level. Around 87 percent of brands come back to us.”

A Focus on Micro Influencers and Small Brands

Sintillate targets micro influencers and small businesses as opposed to celebrities and big brands.

“Influencer marketing currently looks at getting celebrities with mega influence to work with big brands. We approach it in a completely different angle. We start from the bottom. Our main gap is micro influencers and small businesses. We focus on developing micro influencers. They have an authentic, organic audience following them for their passion, for their niche, for their knowledge. It might be small but it is still a real, organic authentic audience. On the other side of the coin is the small businesses and brands that are there to offer micro influencers opportunity that big brands will not. Big brands won’t necessarily offer small influencers opportunities but will go for celebrities.”

Micro influencers and small brands are more in tune with each other than more traditional influencer marketing involving a celebrity and a big brand, he says.

“They both understand they are there to grow, develop their pages, their portfolios. They are quite in line with that mentality and thinking of growing together.”

Sinan cautions small businesses not to expect immediate direct sales when working micro influencers.

“Do not expect immediate turnaround. You need an ‘always on’ marketing strategy. And that means influencers need to be used in a way that is thought out for the whole year. Develop an annual plan and drip feed your audience with content continuously over and over again. An audience member needs to see something at least 7 times before they buy it.”

Protecting Micro Influencer Mental Health

Addressing micro influencers’ mental wellbeing is a key pillar of Sintillate.

“A Forbes pre-COVID study found that in a sample of 200, 47% of influencers suffered from poor mental health linked to the job. Social media is a minefield. It’s very difficult to be in charge. You have trolling and online abuse. Micro influencers are on their own, doing photo shoots, sitting in their bedrooms and not working together. As an influencer agency, we have put in a lot of significant work into addressing factors linked to poor mental health of influencers. We connect teams. Our whole philosophy is collaboration and not isolation.

In this respect, Sintillate takes a different approach from other influencers agencies, Sinan says.

“We are not just about getting the job done which is the mindset of a lot of agencies. Our main core value is that we have to support these people, because they are working alone. We have a wellbeing manager when you need someone to speak to, when your self-esteem is low, when you have been hit by online trolls. It is something which has made us standout. When I ask influencers why Sintillate and not another agency, they say opportunities is a big reason but also the feeling of community, family and support toward the mental health element. If people are feeling positive, campaigns will be a success. If they are feeling negative and down, it’s not going to be successful.”

Future Plans

Sintillate is working on a building a tech platform that operates as an open market where micro influencers can connect to small businesses, Sinan says. It would have a feedback and rating feature just like Uber or Airbnb.

“We are creating a talent team tech platform. We have seen content creators are only being linked by Instagram algorithms to local business in their demographic. Whereas our platform is going to connect smaller influencers outside of their demographic. I want to see more international collaborations.”


Sinan Sahin is founder, CEO and Talent Director at Sintillate Talent, an influencer marketing agency. He has extensive influencer marketing and client account management experience. Sinan has advised global organizations on influencer marketing, business consultancy, talent attraction and recruitment strategies. HE has bachelor’s degree in psychology from Goldsmiths, University of London. Scintillate Talent is on Instagram. Visit the Sintillate Talent website to see how your small business can work with influencers or to apply as an influencer.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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