Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Who owns your business's Google+ Page and YouTube channel?

Are you the owner of your business's YouTube channel and Google+ Page?  

Creating and maintaining a YouTube channel, Google+ Page and other social media profiles can require a significant investment in time, energy and expertise. It's natural that many business owners often delegate social media management to hired experts, employees, or even interns.

But what business owners often don't appreciate is that having someone else create your accounts can mean losing control if that employee quits, is fired, or doesn't keep a record of the account's username and password.

In the Google+ Help Community and YouTube Help Forum we see many pleas for assistance from business owners who desperately need to gain access to their channel or page, but cannot because they can't sign in to the Google account and Google+ Profile that owns it. If an employee (or intern or friend) creates the account using their own personal email and information, and will not - or cannot - give the business owner access, there is usually nothing the business owner can do to claim it. From Google's perspective, the creator of the account is the true owner of the account.

Fortunately, Google offers a solution. You as the owner of the business should control the Google+ Profile that owns your company's Google+ Page and YouTube channel. You can then add managers who can post content, moderate comments and manage the appearance of your profiles.

If you are hiring someone to create a Google+ Page and YouTube channel for your business, make sure that you are the owner - and control the email username - of the Google account and Google+ Profile they create.

1. Create a Google+ Profile for social media using an email address on your business's domain

Contrary to common belief, there is no requirement that you have a Gmail email address associated with your Google account. You can create a Google account using a business email address, rather than a Gmail email by starting here:

The advantage of using an email address on your business's domain is that you should always be able to control access to that email account and reset the password if necessary. If your business re-brands and changes its domain, the email username on the Google account can be updated.

If you do choose to add a Gmail email address to your Google account, keep in mind that the Gmail address will be the username and primary email for the account. If you don't know your account's Gmail email address, you won't be able to sign in or recover access to the account.

2. Create the new Google+ Profile with your personal name

Note: as of July 2014 a Google+ Profile is not required to be a personal name.  

Note: as of November 2015 it is no longer necessary to have a Google+ Profile to become a manager of a Google+ Page. You can be Owner of the Page without any public Profile identity.

Google+ Profile names policy recommends that your profile represent you as an individual. The profile doesn't have to use your full legal name. It can be your first name and last initial, for example (like "Peggy K"). 

I think it is best practice to keep Profiles personal, and have a Page represent your business. That way your Page can be managed by people who don't have "Owner" access.

Also be sure to enter your own birth date, rather than your company's creation date. You don't want your account to be restricted because your business isn't 18 years old!

If you don't plan to use the Google+ Profile, you can change the settings so that the profile doesn't appear in Google's search results.

You can also choose to not have any public Google+ Profile at all. Pages can be managed at which does not require a Google+ Profile.

3. Add Google account recovery options

If your Google account and it's YouTube channel, photos, Blogger blogs, Google Drive documents and Google+ Page are important to you, you will want to be sure the account recovery options are up to date.

If your account's username is a Gmail email, you can add a non-Gmail password recovery email address. This should be an email account that you will have long-term access to - preferably an email on your business domain.

You also can add a mobile phone number to your account for recovery purposes.

4. Once your social media Google account and Google+ Profile are set up, create a new YouTube channel and Google+ Page for your business

Update: as of October 2015 all Google+ Pages are managed at

If you only want a Google+ Page for your business, and not a YouTube channel, simply sign into your new Google+ Profile ( and select Pages from the left menu.

If you don't have a Google+ Profile, sign in at Google My Business (

 That will take you to your Google My Business Dashboard ( where you will see the option to create a new Brand Page or Location in the left menu.

If you have a local business, where you see clients or customers face-to-face, and you want your business to appear on Google Maps, create a new Location.

If you have an organization, band, YouTube persona or online-only business, switch to "Brand pages" to create a new Brand Page.

Get detailed instructions for creating a Google+ Brand Page.

Old Google+ Pages Dashboard

If you want both a Google+ Page and YouTube channel for your business, you can create them together.

It's easy to create a new channel with a Business or other name

When you sign in to YouTube with a new Google account you may be prompted to create a new channel. Be sure you select the Business or other name option.

If you have an existing YouTube account, you can create a new channel for your business on your account's All My Channels page.

Just follow the steps, and you will have created a brand new YouTube channel and Google+ Page connected to each other. 

Watch this tutorial by +The Lady from Uncle, which shows how she creates a new YouTube channel with a new Google+ Page for clients, starting from creation of a new Google account and Google+ Profile.

If you want to add a YouTube channel to your existing Google+ Page, you can do so from inside your YouTube account.

If you've already created a Google+ Page and want to add a YouTube channel to it, simply sign into YouTube with the email username and password for the Google+ Profile that owns or manages the Page, click your profile image in the upper right corner, and click the gear icon.

 That will take you your Account Overview, where you can select "See all my channels or create a new channel".

Your YouTube account's "All my channels" page ( shows all the Google+ Pages your Google+ Profile manages, even those that aren't connected to a YouTube channel yet.

Just click on the name of the Google+ Page you want to add a YouTube channel to, and YouTube will walk you through the channel creation process.

5. Add a manager (or two) to your business's Google+ Page

So as a business owner, how to you make sure you maintain your ownership of your Google+ Page and YouTube channel without having to manage them yourself?

If you are going to have an employee or social media manager post content and moderate comments, what you should do is add their own Google+ Profile or Google Account as a manager of your Google+ Page. 

As the owner, only you will be able to add and remove managers or delete the Google+ Page and YouTube channel. Your manager can do everything else.

You can add (or remove) a manager of your Google+ Page and its connected YouTube channel by following these instructions:

Add a Manager starting from YouTube

  • Sign into YouTube with the Google Account that is the Owner of the channel and Page
  • Make sure you are switched to using your Page-connected channel (you can switch at All My Channels
  • Click your channel icon/profile photo at top right
  • Click the gear icon to open your account overview
  • Click Add or remove managers
  • That will take you to your Google+ Page's manager settings where you can add or remove managers, or transfer ownership

Add a Manager starting from Google My Business
  • Sign into Google+ ( and click Pages on the left menu,  or open the Google My Business (
  • Click the name of your Page (or Manage this page)
  • Open the left menu and click the Managers option
  • Alternatively, click the Settings option and then the Managers tab
  • That will take you to your Google+ Page's manager settings where you can add or remove managers, or transfer ownership
You can find more detailed instructions here:

Add or remove managers of a channel
How to add or remove a Google+ Page manager

There are two types of managers that can be added:

  • A communications manager can only make posts on Google+ and moderate and reply to comments. Communication managers have limited access to YouTube.
  • A full manager can also edit your profiles, post videos to YouTube, or run a Hangout on Air.

There can be up to 50 managers for a Google+ Page. Just make sure you only add managers you can trust!

If the employee managing your Google+ Page and YouTube channel quits, or you choose to change social media management companies, their access can be quickly and easily revoked.

My Google+ Profile isn't the owner of my business's Google+ Page and YouTube channel - what can I do?

If you've read through this and come to the realization that you aren't the owner of your business's Google+ Page and YouTube channel, then that can be remedied.

1. First figure out which Google+ Profile and Google account owns your business's Google+ Page.

Hopefully you know who that person is and they can remember how to sign into their account! The managers of Google+ Pages are not publicly visible (by design) and there is no way to request that information from Google.

If you can sign in as the manager of the Google+ Page, you can find out which Google+ Profile is the owner of the Page in the Page's settings.

If you don't know which Google+ Profile owns your business's Google+ Page and YouTube channel, you unfortunately don't have many options.

  • try sharing a message privately on Google+

Hopefully the owner of the Google+ Page will receive an email notification and respond.

2. Have ownership of the Google+ Page transferred to your Google+ Profile

If your Google+ Profile has been a manager of the Google+ Page for at least 2 weeks 24 hours, the current owner of the Google+ Page can transfer ownership to you.

Note that YouTube channel ownership is transferred along with the Google+ Page it's connected to.

3. If you simply can't access the Google+ Profile or Google Account that owns your Google+ Page and YouTube channel your options are limited

I don't suggest an impersonation report lightly. Google+ Page removals are permanent, and the connected YouTube channel will be removed as well. Only try that if you have absolutely run out of options.

That's why it's so important to make sure you are the owner of your business or brand's Google+ Page from the beginning!

Note that there may be other recovery options if your Page is a Google+ Local page, rather than a regular Google+ business or brand page. Post in the official Google and Your Business help forum for assistance with Google+ Local pages.

That's why it's so important to make sure you are the owner of your business or brand's Google+ Page from the beginning!

Learn more about Google+ Pages and YouTube channels

Also check out this playlist to learn more about creating and managing Google+ Pages and Page-linked channels for your business, organization or brand.

Thanks to +Kamal Tailor , +Kaleh Kohler+Jaana Nyström+The Lady from Uncle and many others for discussion and suggestions that went into this post!  

Top photo: "Home market :1941" shared by Don O'Brien on Flickr under a CC by 2.0 license, text added by me.

Updated 6/24/14 with links to the Google My Business help center
Updated 3/7/15 with current "All my channels" screenshots
Updated 1/3/16 with updated screenshots and Google My Business dashboard details.

Posted by Peggy K


  1. *For any business owner; A must read!*

    Very helpful and concise article, thank you.

  2. Excellent resource Peggy! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Totally saved me from endless loop of confusion. Thanks for posting


  4. Hi Guys..
    Hope all are well. Please help me on this regard..
    I have a listing with 33 reviews and a good no of viewer. I forgot the id and password of the related account. What can Do???

    If I claim my page with new mail id and password can i got the reviews and other details what ever on that listing

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Prasad Achary: apologies for missing your comment. If this is a verified local listing (has a check mark on Google+) you can follow these instructions to try to recover access: