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Have you ever found that someone whispering gives you goose pimples or hearing ice falling from a glacier in slow motion sends tingles down your spine? If you have, you’ve experienced ASMR (don’t worry—we’ll get to what ASMR stands for a little later!).
While most videos online give you something visually interesting to engage with, sound-focused content has found its place with fans of ASMR. YouTube has been the home for most of these videos over the last decade, but with the rise of TikTok, sensory response content creators have found a new audience.
In this guide, we’ll show you how you can easily create your own ASMR videos, why ASMR sounds are so appealing to people, and take a look at some of the most popular TikTok videos in the ASMR community.
Before we dive into how to actually make your own TikTok ASMR videos and become a social media sensation, it’s probably a good idea to get a better understanding of what it actually is.
So what does ASMR stand for anyway? It’s short for autonomous sensory meridian response, meaning that it’s spontaneous (you have no control), triggered by something external, and affects your senses to a peak point. In other words, ASMR is all about the sensation or feelings you get when interacting with a stimulating video or task.
In most cases, those feelings come from light, repetitive sounds like pages turning or chewing gum. Some people find that ASMR can cause a tingling in their head or spine, while others find it incredibly relaxing (even to the point of falling asleep!).
ASMR was relatively unheard of before 2010, when it’s believed to have taken off after being mentioned in a scientific Facebook group. Since then, there have been billions of Google searches for ASMR videos, and big brands are starting to take notice.
IKEA released a 25-minute long ad full of ASMR sounds back in 2019, and W Magazine has a whole playlist on their YouTube channel of celebrities making their own videos, like Margot Robbie putting Vegemite on some toast and Kate Hudson rubbing sequined clothes.
How Does ASMR Work?
Despite its beginnings, there’s relatively little science behind why an ASMR video makes you feel the way you do.
A 2015 study found that over 75% of participants experience tingling when listening to whispering, whereas crisp sounds like metallic foil or tapping fingernails was a trigger for 64%. Over 80% of participants noted that ASMR positively impacted their mood.
Much like our reactions to anything in our environment, ASMR can affect us differently depending on the day, time, or even how we’re feeling at that moment. What triggers ASMR feelings in us can also change over time if we’re exposed to it too often and we become desensitized to it, which is why it’s more exciting to watch a range of ASMR videos than only one type over and over.
Common ASMR Triggers
The noises and visuals that cause ASMR can be different for everyone, but the limited scientific research suggests that some of the most common triggers are:
- Soft sounds like whispering or low-pitched voices
- Watching someone do ordinary tasks like cooking or cleaning
- People receiving some kind of personal attention like having their hair brushed
- Tapping on a hard surface (paper, wood, metal, or plastic)
- Sounds from crinkly or crackling objects like paper rustling or fabric moving
Using ASMR to Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, ASMR can be a helpful sleep tool when you’re struggling to rest peacefully each night. Not only can ASMR sounds improve your mood, but there’s some research to suggest that it can lower stress and trigger parts of the brain that temporarily relieve pain.
While audio works well for nighttime routines, the combination of both audio and visual stimulus can help to trigger different parts of your brain when watching an ASMR video and get you to sleep faster.
Popular Videos on TikTok
When it comes to TikTok, popular videos in the ASMR community often center around food and cooking. There are endless opportunities for content creators in this space to make new videos with different sounds that could trigger ASMR. Chopping, slicing, peeling, rinsing, removing packaging, grilling, or frying…you name it, there’s a video featuring it.
These aren’t your standard recipe videos (although those are just as popular on TikTok!). The focus isn’t on what’s being made but the sounds that are created in the process. Who knew that cooking up a storm could mean so many different noises? Eating videos are just as popular, with millions of viewers tuning in to watch creators slurp, crunch, chew, and swallow all day long.
But it’s not just fans of good food who are loving ASMR on TikTok. As with most trends, the beauty community has well and truly integrated themselves in this new world. A dominant force on YouTube, beauty influencers have been making video content like makeup tutorials, product reviews, and skincare tests since online platforms began. It’s a world perfectly suited for a combination of audio and visual delight.
Brands like Sephora are no stranger to the world of ASMR as they shift much of their marketing focus towards a new target consumer—Gen Z. And where do they hang out? On TikTok. It’s the perfect blend of video content that continues to resonate on YouTube and a new home on social media. And when viewers like to watch this type of content on repeat, why wouldn’t you use it to sell your products?
After a year of global lockdowns and most of us not venturing too far from home, it’s hardly surprising that this kitchen restocking content is hitting a nerve. There’s something particularly soothing about watching someone stock an empty fridge with matching juice boxes or pouches of applesauce, refill a jar of coffee grounds, or even rearrange their spice rack.
The restock hashtag on TikTok has billions of views, and it’s not hard to see why. Even #oddlysatisfying has nearly 50 billion views and is full of ASMR content. We can’t blame you if these videos make you want to rearrange your entire kitchen!
Trending Sounds on TikTok
For ASMR artists, working with TikTok trending sounds can be more challenging. After all, the whole point of ASMR is to create primarily audible content to entice their audience. For most creators, they use their own ASMR tools and equipment to capture original sounds as they make their videos.
Following the ever-popular TikTok videos in the culinary space, some of the most commonly used trending sounds for ASMR videos feature closing doors, slowly clicking a drawer shut, or the slicing sound of scissors opening packaging. In skincare, opening bottles, scooping creams out of a jar, or pulling off a face mask are all tingle-inducing sounds that are popular in this community.
That’s not to say that all ASMR sounds have to be unique to each video. In fact, plenty of brands have created their own sounds that are used over and over by other TikTok users in their own content by looking through the TikTok sound search feature. Milk Makeup is a great example of this. Their original ASMR sound has been used in over 14,000 videos, from morning skincare routines to face mask applications.
Some creators and ASMR artists will also use calming or popular songs in their videos with the ASMR sounds over the top. This creates a different experience for their audience as they get all of the good ASMR feelings, along with a fun video and engaging music.
Go Live With Your First TikTok Video!
Mastering TikTok: Stop Scrolling & Post Your First TikTok
You’ve seen the most popular TikTok videos and have a better understanding of the ASMR definition, so now it’s time to work on creating your own videos.
The first place to start is deciding on what type of TikTok ASMR content that you want to make. You can split most ASMR sounds fairly evenly between methodical, which are repetitive and predictable sounds, or natural, where speech and other unpredictable sounds create a soothing feeling. What you do in the video will depend on the type of sounds you want to make, so sit down to map this out like you would any other video or social media post.
You’ll also need to think carefully about your setting. This is video content, after all!
While the focus should be on the sounds you’re creating, having an interesting visual for your audience is still incredibly important. You could choose to keep this very simple, like a studio setup with just you and your microphone and whatever objects you’re using to create your sounds. Or you could go all out and do an “on location” video, like in your kitchen or bathroom.
Once you’ve found your perfect recording spot, sit and listen for a few minutes. What background noises can you hear? Is there anything reflecting and creating distracting shadows on the wall behind you? Try to stick to rooms with thick carpets or curtains to help lessen stray sounds that could be picked up by your microphone, and think about closing windows or recording at a quieter time of the day.
Finding the right ASMR microphone for the type of content you want to create can be a challenge, especially if you plan to record your videos on a phone. Studio mics often work better as the space localizes the sound, but for your first videos, any good quality condenser microphone will work.
The key to a great microphone is low self-noise and high sensitivity to capture every little syllable you whisper or crackling sound when you open a bag of chips. The small details are what really defines ASMR, so choosing a mic that can pick up everything is best.
The Blue Yeti USB or Blue Snowball are perfect for beginners and come in under $150 each. If you’re still not sure if ASMR videos are for you, these mics are budget-friendly and can be used for other types of audio recording like voiceovers or podcasts. For a top-of-the-line mic, Blue Baby Bottle features an aesthetically pleasing vintage design, making it an ideal choice to feature in videos.
Some of the best videos use a technique known as binaural ASMR, where two microphones are used at the same time to capture the sound. It’s used to recreate the acoustics of a three-dimensional environment and makes viewers feel like they’re right there in the room with you.
These ASMR microphones are often shaped like human ears and placed at the same distance from the recorder’s mouth as our ears would be on our head. This helps to balance the reverb of the sounds and mimic the auditory experience as naturally as possible.
Once recorded, binaural audio stays separate, rather than mixed together as one file. Most binaural audio clips are made to be listened to through headphones so that each ear hears the corresponding mic’s sound as if they were there for the recording.
Binaural microphones can range from the hundreds of dollars up into the thousands thanks to their specialist technology, with 3Dio FS making some of the best options on the market today.
You can record directly onto your phone to make uploading to TikTok easier, or you can go the old school YouTube route and film on a camera. Particularly if you’re looking to make a highly edited video, a camera will likely be the easiest option.
Remember, though, you can only make videos up to three minutes long on TikTok. You’ll be able to choose different timing options directly within the app if you’re recording in-platform, but this is even more important to keep in mind if you’re recording on a different device and editing later.
Almost as important as your camera and microphone are your props. What are you going to use to create your ASMR content? As we’ve seen in popular TikTok videos, food, beauty products, or household objects will likely work best.
Before you make any final plans for your video, test these products on camera and with your microphone to be sure that they make the types of sounds you’re after. Even with the most sensitive mic, if a bottle doesn’t make a sound when it’s opened, your ASMR dreams will be over quite quickly!
Testing ahead of time also gives you a good sense of how close to the microphone you need to hold certain objects. Your sound should remain balanced throughout the video and stay at roughly the same level. No one wants to be holding their phone up to their ear to hear a jar lid twist off to then be flinching in horror at the abrasive noise of plastic packaging!
You can always adjust volumes down if you’re editing on a computer rather than recording directly within TikTok, but prepping this ahead of filming can save you significant amounts of time.
Creating Your Own Sounds
When you’re learning how to create your own sound on TikTok, it takes some practice to get everything lined up exactly as you’d like, unless you’re creating one endless video with no cuts. If you’re new to this type of recording, set up all of your ASMR equipment and record a few test runs (they make for great outtakes later too!).
When you’re thinking about your distance from the microphone, six to 12 inches is a good estimate to begin with. Use your test runs to try out different mic positions. As you learn what feels comfortable for you and generates the best sound for the type of ASMR video you want, setting up for recordings will take less time and you’ll be creating your own sounds in no time at all.
If you’re recording whispering, watch for the sounds of your breathing between syllables. Inhaling and exhaling into a sensitive microphone can be shockingly loud, so don’t forget to move your face away from the mic when you’re not speaking. It can also help to turn your head slightly to the side, rather than having your lips directly against the microphone. This will make any “S” or hissing sounds sound better.
The same goes for any sounds known as plosives—the way that our mouths pronounce “P” and “B”. Pop filters can be useful mic additions to limit the excess noise that these create, without losing any of the appealing details that make ASMR so popular.
Soothe Your Way to TikTok Fame!
It only takes one viral video to capture your audience’s attention, and ASMR content isn’t going anywhere any time soon, so why not give it a try?
Whether you’re known for making calming, sleep-inducing videos that give your viewers a restful night full of dreams, or you’re making spine-shivering cooking content, making TikTok ASMR videos is fun and rewarding. We can’t wait to see (and hear) what you come up with!
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