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Here’s why your next social media strategy should send people to sleep

Posted by Megan Hill on 25th February 2021

*In a whisper* Hello and welcome to another ASMR video…

Sound familiar? Even if it did, you probably wouldn’t admit it. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, more commonly described as the ‘tingles’ people feel—mainly in their head—when they’re exposed to specific audio or visual triggers.

Born on YouTube in 2009, content creators known as ASMRtists make videos that aim to invoke these tingles in their viewers to help them sleep, relax and/or de-stress.

The videos can take many forms, from role-plays such as a visit to the doctor’s or getting a haircut, all the way to the more bizarre such as people licking fake ears or scratching on pieces of toast. Yes really.

So, what does this have to do with PR strategy? Well, while we all know the benefit of a five-star review, any good consumer tech PR strategy should include influencers and ASMRtists boast some very impressive subscriber counts that are full of potential.

Don’t panic. No-one is asking you to ditch tech reviewers.

ASMR should be used as part of a well-rounded social influencer strategy that includes tech reviewers; the benefit being that ASMR lends itself to longer form content that’s not always possible with traditional YouTube reviews.

For example, keyboard sounds are a very popular trigger for ASMR fans, with countless videos dedicated solely to typing.

Even the best tech reviewer in the world is unlikely to be able to discuss keyboard specs for more than a few minutes without boring the viewer, but with ASMR people choose to listen to info and sounds from your product for an extended period of time.

And, if the decoding sleep interfaculty research cooperation at the University of Bern, Switzerland, is to be believed, sending people to sleep with your product specs isn’t such a bad thing.

The research shows that not only can the sleeping brain encode new information and store it for the long term, it can even make new associations. The information is stored unconsciously, so viewers won’t feel a need to buy your product as soon as they wake. But when deciding between you and a competitor, the knowledge they’ve unconsciously collected could come into play.

While the same can be argued of traditional YouTube reviews, sponsored or non-organic posts can be negatively received by audiences looking for impartiality. In contrast the ASMR community is largely accepting if not encouraging of content creators doing paid-for videos.

Why? Because they are getting something in return. Whether that’s relaxation, sleep or stress relief, fans understand that their favourite ASMRtists need to make money in order to keep creating content.

Another bonus is that ASMR fans tend to watch videos they like repeatedly, and we all know the positive impact that repetition has on brand recognition.

But don’t just take my word for it…

ASMRtist Gentle Whispering and tech reviewer SuperSaf both have subscribers in the millions (2.2m and 1.7m respectively) and both have filmed videos talking about Tesla.

Supersaf’s video from 2020 has 172k views and 596 comments, the most recent of which was from three months ago. Gentle Whispering’s video from 2018 has 5.5m views and over 10k comments (many calling for Tesla to sponsor future videos), with the most recent comment being posted only 46 minutes ago at the time of writing.

Even if Supersaf’s video continued getting views at the same rate, it would still fall short of Gentle Whispering’s.

Generally, ASMR seems to buck the trend of most YouTube videos, which reach 75% of their viewership within 20 days of posting. In fact, one of the most watched ASMR videos of all time is W Magazine’s ASMR exploration with Cardi B. The video was posted in October 2018 and has a staggering 47.7m views and a comment section full of returning viewers.

So, now that you know there is an engaged, far-reaching and positive community on YouTube looking for sponsored content, what reason could you possibly have for not giving it a go?

Megan Hill