Stoney Creek’s Sprinkles on Top offers sweet deals via social media
Once a day, Sprinkles on Top tea room, bakery and ice cream parlour in Stoney Creek, plays the name game. The premise is simple: the shop posts a name on their social media and anyone with that name can come in and get a free scoop. No caveats, just a free scoop.
“Today's name is Sydney,” says owner Michelle Peters. “So if anyone knows the Sydney, they're tagging them… Sydney doesn’t come alone, they come with their family or friends – and we get a lot of engagement with people tagging their friends and commenting back and forth.”
The social media strategy has been a great marketing tool for getting people in the door, especially as the weather starts to dip and the ice cream segment of the business follows suit. But Peters says she always knew there was more that could be done.
“Seeing as I'm in my fifties now, I didn't grow up with social media so obviously it's something that we've learned and had to grasp and embrace,” says Peters. Currently, the business has over 7,000 followers on Facebook and 5,000 on Instagram.
“We're in the right direction with a lot of our social media, but there were a lot of things that I didn't know,” says Peters. As a director of the Stoney Creek Business Improvement Area, the Sprinkles on Top owner found out about Digital Main Street as it was rolling out. The program, which leverages grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario and the Ontario BIA Association, helps main street businesses across Ontario strengthen their digital and online capabilities.
For Peters, applying to the Digital Transformation grant and enrolling in the training videos was an easy decision. “It was great timing for us because we're updating web pages,” she says adding that they’ve recently transitioned the party room segment of the business into a tea room to capture everyday clientele as opposed to the events-based approach. The update includes a new logo and website.
“We're spending a lot more than what is available through the grant, but at the same time, it's a nice bonus that's there to help us through this transition and get a lot of things done that we're needing to do,” she says. The training videos also exposed her to elements of social media she hadn’t considered, like how to create tighter content and be more efficient with posts.
“I find that to be quite a task to come up with a post on a daily basis,” she says. “So knowing we can schedule posts… I wasn't aware of all these different apps.” Sprinkles on Top has also started to look into implementing a newsletter.
“Quite often our customers say, oh, do you have a mailing list? We’ve never had that,” she says. The newsletter, she says, will help keep her customers in the know about monthly events.
“You have a lot of seniors in this area and as much as they love the tea aspect and they come in for ice cream every day, they're not on social media, that's not how they know about us,” she says. “But they do have an email account. So I think that's a good way for us to connect with them.”
Written by Andrew Seale
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
This case study was completed during a prior expansion of DMS in partnership with the Province of Ontario and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In June 2020, a $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19.