Percolate helps companies publish engaging content to social networks — or at least, that’s the goal. What it hasn’t done until now is help those companies take advantage of the additional content that fans, consumers and everyone else are also posting.
The idea of allowing brands to harness user-generated content is a pretty familiar — for example, that’s one of the main goals of a startup called Chute. However, Percolate co-founder and President James Gross said the process around getting permission to use that content, and then add it to your media library, can be pretty clunky. (For many companies, it means asking permission via tweet, then taking a screenshot of the exchange.)
With Percolate’s new features, businesses can easily send Twitter or Instagram users a quick “We’d love to use your image” message with a link. If the user is interested, they can follow the link, which asks them to give the company the right to republish the image. That might seem like a bit too much work for the user, especially since they’re the one giving the company the rights to their content, and I suspect there will be at least one or two people who say, “Ugh, nevermind.” However, as Gross demonstrated for me, it really only takes a few clicks to give approval, so it’s not that onerous either. The key, he said, was to make the process easy while eliminating any legal questions.
Among other things, this could make it easier for brands to share content produced around their social media campaigns. For example, a company could ask fans to tweet photos using their product with a certain hashtag. Then the team could search for all the photos with that hashtag, and if it finds one it wants to republish, it can make the request as I described above.
Percolate has also launched a new smartphone app that allows customers to directly upload photos from their phone to their Percolate media library. So if your company is holding an event, your employees can take photos using the Percolate app. Then it should be easy to tweet from those photos via percolate from the company account — and they’ll be in your media library, so you can find them in a few days when and if you want to use them in a blog post. Again, none of this was impossible before, but Percolate streamlines the process.
Earlier this year, the company also expanded its “visual strategy” by creating integrations with Getty Images and Aviary.
Update: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Gross as the company’s CEO.