How One Portland Company Uses Social to Be Human

June 10, 2016


Ruby Receptionists are living proof that a business-to-business service doesn’t have to use boring communications. I have been repeatedly impressed by how this Portland-based “real, live virtual receptionist” service markets itself. The company, which was founded in 2003 by Jill Nelson, has won numerous awards for its employee culture and beliefs. Ruby frequently appears on lists of “Best Places to Work” in Oregon and throughout the U.S.

Not only is Ruby a great place to work and an invaluable asset for its clients, the company is crushing it on social media! Ruby’s communication all stems from its clear, actionable Core Values:

  • Foster Happiness
  • Practice WOWism
  • Create Community
  • Innovate
  • Grow

Ruby lives out these values for the world to see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. On the first three platforms, they use the catchy handle @callruby across the board – great way of sharing just a little bit about what they do, while keeping the name short and consistent. That one move already shows us that Ruby is thinking clearly and with purpose in their approach to the digital space.

Ruby on Facebook
Facebook appears to be Ruby’s bread and butter. It’s where the brand is showing the most personality – and they certainly have a lot of it, thoroughly dispelling any preconceived notions you may have about B2B companies being dry or boring in their communications.

Ruby uses a variety of post types, primarily (1) links to interesting articles, (2) photos-quotes about work ethic, (3) links to Ruby blog posts, and (4) “Fashion Friday” photos from around the office that tell the company’s story. While Ruby does a good job with types 1, 2 and 3, they do an incredible job with type 4. Perhaps more so than any mid-sized company I’ve seen before, Ruby is actively sharing company culture through Facebook photos. And – even better – it all looks 100% genuine. It isn’t hassled, “put-on,” or over-produced; it’s just real, which makes it incredibly restorative in a sea of fake social media posts.

Ruby on Twitter
First and foremost, Ruby gets the gold for not having the one terrible habit that 90% of brands on Twitter have. Can you guess what it is? (Ok, there are a lot of bad habits…)

…Ruby doesn’t use Twitter as a second Facebook.

Ruby’s Twitter feed is split roughly 50/50 between their own content and other users’ content. Not bad. The company has done a good job acknowledging that Twitter is a social platform and not a channel for broadcasting. Ruby also gets points for throwing out genuine, human-sounding Tweets like this one every few days, in which they express gratitude to a client:

Ruby on Instagram
Ruby does an excellent job showing us what a business-to-business organization can look like on Instagram. If you thought this platform was only for your sunset pictures and fine-dining spreads, then look at how Ruby’s using it. While some of the content we see here also appears on Facebook, the majority of it is unique to Instagram. Props to Ruby for this achievement; they make the experience of following @CallRuby and ‘liking’ their Facebook page worthwhile for their audience: two unique stories, two unique perspectives.

It’s happy hour time at Ruby HQ! Beer Shakes and Burgers! #RubyLife #NomNomNom

A photo posted by Ruby Receptionists (@callruby) on

Ruby: A Human Name for a Human Brand
It makes sense that Ruby Receptionists has an actual person’s name embedded in their company name, doesn’t it? This brand is human, through-and-through. I love seeing how they reject the false “brand v. human” dichotomy. Instead, they’re completely in-tune with how brands can – and should – act “human” in all of their communications. Learn more about Ruby Receptionists and other brands that are restoring our digital culture and environment in my new book, Finally Human. Visit for more information.

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