Sintillate Talent is a multi-award winning international talent and influencer agency. Its CEO, Sinan Sahin, has a degree in psychology and worked in clinical psychology for years before starting Sintillate Talent.
Later, he moved to inspirational speaking and realized he had a passion for speaking and motivating others. From this, he used his interest in social media and combined it with his psychology background to create Sintillate Talent, an influencer marketing talent agency that combines talent and smaller brands to deliver messages through realistic, powerful experiences.
“[It’s] no secret that social media does impact our mental health, negatively most of the time. So a lot of influencers who are really in this industry, they are struggling with this. It’s as many as maybe half of influencers [who] do suffer from the depression that comes with social media.”
Handling Sensitive Campaign Topics
Sinan shares that his company works with many brands with delicate messages they want to share online. However, this can be a tricky slope because if a sensitive topic isn’t handled well, it can quickly backfire on the influencer and brand.
Recently, Sintillate Talent worked with a company that creates products for fertility issues, which is a highly sensitive topic as one in seven couples struggle with infertility at some point in their lives. Generally, infertility is considered taboo to speak about and has a lot of stigma attached to it.
However, “if an influencer who’s got a large audience, whom people respect and is passionate about their niche, and they say I’m not perfect like social media puts me out to be. I have my troubles and problems too, just like you do. And this is how I’ve gone about it. I’ve sought help. I’ve done or [I’m] taking this approach. And you eventually say, “if they can do it, I can do it too.” So [the audience] sees help.”
Influencer Resources & Supporting Influencer Mental Health
Sintillate Talent focuses on supporting its micro-influencers with their mental health because so many influencers struggle with their mental health. Instead of waiting for tragedy, Sintillate Talent has taken active steps by hiring a wellbeing manager. They are the only influencer talent agency with a well-being manager, which is one way they take active steps to help their influencer talent with their mental health through education.
Scott Aquilina, the Wellbeing Manager at Sintillate Talent, helps influencers connect to crucial mental health resources. He shares online information, helplines, guides, and more with influencers to accomplish this. He also personally speaks with influencers through WhatsApp and facilitates a connection with Sinitllate’s talent so that influencers feel comfortable coming to him if they are struggling with their mental health and need to be taken off a project.
He’s also run seminars, where he’s shared his own story and mental health struggles, which has touched many of the influencers he’s worked with and helped him connect with influencers with similar backgrounds or struggles. Part of their current education also heavily focuses on the pandemic and how it’s affecting influencers’ mental health and wellbeing.
Currently, he’s working on helping influencers “around the impact of being an influencer, so how does being an influencer impact your mental health?”
This approach is definitely working. Due to their excellent, active work in promoting their talent’s wellbeing and mental health, Sintillate Talent has won two international awards in a short time.
The Impact of COVID & Generational Differences on Influencer Communication
Scott began his work as a Wellbeing Manager during COVID, which made face-to-face contact impossible, making it more challenging at first to build relationships with influencers. However, seeing people over Zoom and continuing to build connections over time has helped with this, allowing him to overcome this challenge.
Sinan shares that sometimes generational differences can also make a difference. Sinan is typically a bit older than the influencer Sintillate Talent works with and has noticed that many Gen X influencers struggle to or dislike communicating over a phone call. While texting and messaging may work for certain situations, things do go wrong, and bigger conversations may need to happen over the phone or Zoom.
“So that’s a challenge which we are facing. It’s about really changing the mindset of younger people to move away. When you have to have a real conversation with somebody and speak on the phone because that is where resolutions come from. That’s where you get proper help. And especially because of times where people were isolating alone, it was really difficult to get people to interact in physical face-to-face contact.”
Sinan notes that creativity rises when creators work together, which is something that Sintillate Talent is working to cultivate more and more. Bringing people together in person also helps people feel supported, especially by other influencers who struggle with similar issues in their work. In the long-term, face-to-face contact can help both influencers’ mental health, creativity, and growth online via collaborations.
Lowering the Guise of Perfection & Managing Expectations
Both Scott and Sinan noted that many influencers constantly struggle with the expectation to be perfect online. Even people who aren’t influencers struggle with the impact of social media, making them feel inferior, so this pressure is only compounded for influencers.
However, no one can handle the pressure of being perfect.
Sinan shares, “For us, it’s about really managing the expectations of our brand partners to show what is … realistic, which a lot of these [companies] just throw out a lot out there for these influencers and expect the deliverables to be met.”
According to Sinan, fast fashion companies can be notoriously difficult to manage expectations with because of the slim window these companies have to advertise their products before the newest trends hits. While he’s sympathetic to brands wanting to have timely marketing, he also works tirelessly to manage their expectations so that influencers can have realistic expectations and deliverables they can meet.
Gender Equality in the Influencer Marketing Space
“The majority of this market is female… about 95% of influencers are female. Most men would be models, rather than actual influencers. … So we are [in] a female-dominated market that’s not as transparent as it would be if it was a normal job.”
Sinan shares this his agency struggles to find enough male influencers. He shares that many men online are more interested in becoming models than influencers, which is a struggle that he continues to face when looking for male talent for clients interested in male influencers promoting their products. Moving forward, he would like to see a greater number of male influencers online.
Sinan shares the following for people interested in becoming influencers or growing into larger influencers:
“The people who want to be influencers… if you want to get into this market, it’s not easy. It’s very difficult. You’ve got [to have] support around you, that will help you. But you have to be prepared to put a lot of resources into this if you really want to make it.”