How One Irish Toy Store Won Christmas 

Key metrics and results from our Enterprise Ireland project engagement with Hopkins of Wicklow.

19 January 2022  
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Introducing Best Practice Social Media Management

Hopkins has been in business since 1827, sparking generations of joy amongst Wicklow Toy shoppers. In 2021, they decided to invest in a brand and update their website to reflect the new brand and products. Brightspark was brought in to assist with the social media strategy and to help with implementation and training. It was our goal to empower the team on the sales floor to be able to manage the social media process themselves. 

Here’s how we got on…

  • Strategy process - personas, competitor research, and a strategy call to discuss potential ideas.  

    Strategy doc outlining activities, goals, metrics and timelines to position the newly reinvigorated brand was delivered and approved by management.

  • New approach to social media - Hopkins already had an engaged audience on Facebook, but the new approach is to grow Instagram and TikTok where several of the target personas are more likely to be found.  

Instagram led. TikTok inspired. Distributed to Facebook

What this means is that content will primarily be made for the Instagram platform, but with a nod to the entertaining style of TikTok, and with relevant content to be shared on Facebook.

  • Ads & Email - to drive new business to the website and retain and upsell existing customers.

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Top Posts Based On Post Interactions  (Engagement)

Hopkins Toy Shop engagement top posts
Hopkins Toy Shop engagement top posts2
Hopkins Toy Shop engagement top posts
Hopkins Toy Shop engagement top posts4
Hopkins Toy Shop engagement top posts5
Hopkins Toy Shop engagement top posts6
Hopkins Toy Shop engagement top posts7
Hopkins Toy Shop engagement top posts8

Our Approach:

  • Brightspark Content Management Process: The first couple of content planning meetings with Hopkins Toy Shop were managed by Brightspark where we looked after the calendar to make sure there were the right amount and type of posts, shared at the right times based on metrics. After that, Hopkins took over and Brightspark attended. It’s like a muscle - once you’ve run a couple of months content by planning strategically ahead and considering all personas who need to be addressed. After that, clients can look after it themselves following the process and with Brightspark on hand for guidance if need be.
  • TikTok Training: a toy shop needs to be on TikTok. Most everyone is new to TikTok and needs to learn how to do it. We assigned a TikTok micro influencer to come into the store and provide training to the team in how to do some of the cooler cuts, effects, and to show them how to discover and use trending sounds.  We’d give a brief of the kind of shots we wanted to see for the content plan, and he worked with the team on the shop floor to deliver. And didn’t they do a good job - you can click on the TikToks below to play 👇  

Campaign Idea:

Working with a toy shop in Ireland in the run up to Christmas is every marketer’s dream, and we were delighted when they agreed to go with our campaign idea of  

“10 Days To Toy Show”.

The Late Late Toy Show is a cultural institution in Ireland. The main chat show, hosted on a Friday night, on national television, is called The Late Late Show. For over 45 years now, the last Friday night of November is a toy takeover. This is a chance for Irish kids to stay up late and look at toys with their parents and for parents to get a few ideas! In recent times, it has become less about toys and more about joy and love and because of this, the late late toy show is watched by many - not just families.

  • The Late Late Toy Show in 2021 was watched by 1.8 million people, making it one of the highest-rating TV programmes on a single channel on record in Ireland.
  • Across the week, the #LateLateToyShow content garnered 4.6 million views on RTÉ’s social accounts across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.  On Toy Show night, at one point, the top 10 trends in Ireland were #LateLateToyShow names of the Toy Show children who appeared on the show that night with Ryan.
  • Every day a new toy was put up as a competition prize. The competition mechanic was mainly to follow and tag (with the goal of increasing followers) on Instagram and TikTok.Engagement was off the charts for Hopkins Toy Shop!
  • We wanted to capture a little bit of the excitement in the build up to The Late Late Toy Show for our client.  We hosted a 10 Days To Toy Show Countdown on the Hopkins social channels.  
Family in PJs tagging Hopkins on Instagram on Toy Show night

Family in PJs tagging Hopkins on Instagram on Toy Show night

Follower Increases:





10 days til Toy Show: Instagram sample posts

Hopkins toy shop Instagram sample posts 5 days to go
Hopkins toy shop Instagram sample posts 2 days to go
Hopkins toy shop Instagram sample posts 1 day to go

Instagram Engagement total 1.91K of base of 1100

The results for the week of the campaign alone: 10.9% Engagement per follower

Facebook Engagement rate 1.69K

Previous month: 16/10/21          Engagement = 0.13%
Campaign began: 16/11/21        Engagement = 1.51%

Toying around with User Generated Content 

We hosted a '10 Days To Toy Show' Countdown competition on Hopkins Toy Shop social channels. We asked people to share images/video of themselves watching the Toy Show, and post using both our hashtag #HopkinsofWicklow and #LateLateToyShow. This created User-generated content, the most trusted type of content. 

UGC: Why is it so important?

  • Ads based on UGC gets 4 x higher click-through rates, and cost-per-click falls 50% as compared to average ads.  
  • There is 28% higher engagement when a user creates and shares content on social media channels, as compared to standard brand posts.
  • 50% customers say that user-generated content is a way for them to discover new products.
Family in pjs with cats watching Late Late toy show tagging Hopkins toy shop

 Winner got to work in Hopkins Toy Shop!         

What child wouldn't want to spend a day working in a Toyshop! We created such a huge buzz around the competition, exciting the audience and left them wanting more. So the generous team at Hopkins added in the bonus of 'Work in a Toyshop' which also had many benefits in terms of UGC evergreen content, and being totally on brand hitting the brand value of Sparking Joy.

Girl working in Hopkins toy shop
Boy working in Hopkins toy shop
Children working in Hopkins toy shop

Email Marketing

2 emails — announcing winners and promoting products.  

1st Email


2nd Email  



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Did any other Irish Toy shop score 22.4% engagement on TikTok this Christmas?

On TikTok, views are more important than follows. This is because the TikTok algorithm is based on the content generated, not a social one. Creating content that will engage the user is key, ensuring the user will spend more time watching, which will increase your ranking. TikTok moves very fast, so the hook for your video needs to grab the users attention in the first few seconds.

Because TikTok is such a fast moving environment, with content changing at a rapid speed, it’s not as important to grow followers as on the other channels.  Therefore our focus was primarily on views and engagement (likes, comments, shares) metrics, trusting that follower counts will follow.

Where Are Hopkins Toy Shop Now?

  • Hopkins has a good base of engaged fans on Instagram and TikTok to talk to.
  • They are confident about how to produce Reels / TikTok content that delights them.
  • The team does not have to spend more than 1 week in every month on social media content.

Retail Sector

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