Facebook is the last place you’d expect to find dry, technical legalese-ridden explanations about the intricacies of different areas of law — yet, legal document content distribution service JD Supra has created about 20 Facebook Pages that do just that, and it has thousands of fans, to boot. These Pages share a similar design and are dedicated to specific areas of law, such as intellectual property (765 fans), real estate(3,200 fans), business (2,400 fans), international (1,100 fans), immigration (257 fans) and tech law (52 fans), among others.
“We have all of these documents by subject in RSS, on Twitter, but Facebook is clearly a very engaged platform,” Adrian Lurssen, VP of Strategic Development for JD Supra tells us. “It’s like the third-largest country in the world (and) there’s this professional element on Facebook that’s waiting to be seen.”
JD Supra makes money by distributing content for its attorney clients, helping them receive recognition from their peers on a national level and pick up new clients. Facebook accomplishes both of these goals, Lurssen tells us. Given the narrow target audience, Pages don’t need to get as many fans as possible to be successful.
While this content has traditionally been distributed through JD Supra’s site, RSS feeds, Twitter and via the company’s applications, Lurssen said Facebook is different; the news feed on Facebook is a great platform for JD Supra’s content because professionals interested in legal news are already discussing it there.
Each of JD Supra’s Pages are similarly constructed in a crisp, clean, no frills manner designed to highlight the Page’s purpose and entirely focused on the product at hand — there’s no video tab or notes tab for example, and the only photo on the Page is the profile picture. The Pages began going up last summer.
Information on these Pages is shared throughout, but what’s most likely to appear in fans’ News Feeds are the links shared on the Wall, where comments that often turn into discussions take place. A recent batch of comments on the real estate Page’s Wall turned into a home loan modification question-and-answer session, for example. Lurssen said JD Supra’s Pages have thus far proven to be places where professionals, such as realtors, gather to discuss issues related to their businesses.
Each of the remaining tabs presents information from JD Supra in slightly different forms.
There’s a Legal News tab which uses JD Supra’s Legal News app to stream pertinent the latest legal articles there from the company’s clients. Next to some of these legal articles are Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook icons linking to the corresponding pages. This further stretches the Page’s social networking capabilities for these attorneys, by making the content easier for people to share.
The Lawyers tab lists attorneys who’ve authored articles from the Legal News stream and links to their JD Supra profiles where Facebook users may go for more of their articles and information about them or their firms. Finally, the Law Feeds tab displays a number of JD Supra feeds: Twitter, Facebook, RSS, LinkedIn and an assortment of widgets Facebook users may download to incorporate JD Supra content into their web site or blog.
Lurssen said JD Supra will continue its Facebook experiment with new content, such as the most recent addition to the company’s collection of Pages, Is That Legal, which provides basic legal information for consumers, such as texting and driving or credit card information. The company has also begun to exploit the feedback loop Facebook provides. Fans comment to JD Supra what legal themes they’d like to read about and the company is able to pass on this information to its attorney clients, who then produce content for Facebook.