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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 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 Account 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 Account for social media using an email address on your business's domain


Note: you do not need a Google+ Profile to manage a YouTube Channel or Google+ Page for your business. You do need a Google Account.

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. Optional: Create a 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. Google+ Pages and Brand Accounts can be managed at myaccount.google.com/brandaccounts 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 February 2017: Both YouTube  channels and Google My Business listings are now separate from Google+, and each can be created independently on a Brand Account. You can manage all your Brand Accounts at myaccount.google.com/brandaccounts


Creating a Google My Business listing, Google+ Page, or business YouTube Channel also creates a new Brand Account. If you have an existing Brand Account, you can add a Google+ Page or YouTube channel.

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


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 Google Account as a manager of your Google+ Page or YouTube Channel's Brand Account. 

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 or YouTube channel by following these instructions:



Add or remove a Manager starting from YouTube
  1. Sign into YouTube with the Google Account that is the Owner of the channel 
  2. Make sure you are switched to using your Brand Account-connected channel (you can switch at All My Channels www.youtube.com/channel_switcher)
  3. Click your channel icon/profile photo at top right
  4. Click the gear icon to open your account overview
  5. Click Add or remove managers
  6. That will take you to your YouTube channel's Brand Account details page
  7. Click the blue Manage Permissions button
  8. Add, remove or promote Managers 
Add or remove a Manager starting from Google+
  1. Sign into Google+ (plus.google.com) with the Google Account that is the Owner of the channel
  2. Click your profile photo at top right, and select the Page's Brand Account name from the menu
    (Or click All your Brand Accounts at the bottom of the list, then the Brand Account name)
  3. That will take you to your YouTube channel's Brand Account details page
  4. Click the blue Manage Permissions button
  5. Add, remove or promote Managers 
You can find more detailed instructions here:
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 Account 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 Account owns your business's Brand Account with its Google+ Page and YouTube Channel

Hopefully you know who that person is and they can remember how to sign into their account! The managers of Google+ Pages and YouTube channels 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 or YouTube channel's Brand Account, you can find out the name of the owner:

  1. Sign in to your Brand Account dashboard (myaccount.google.com/brandaccounts)
  2. Click the Brand Account name
  3. Click the blue "Manage Permissions" button. 

That will show you the names of all the Brand Account's owners and managers.

If you don't know which Google Account 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 or YouTube Channel's Brand Account transferred to your Google Account


If your Google Account has been a manager of the Google+ Page or YouTube channel's Brand Account for at least 2 weeks 24 hours, the current owner of the Brand Account can transfer ownership to you.

Note that transferring ownership of a Brand Account transfers all the Google services on that account, including the Google+ Page, YouTube channel, Google Photos and Google My Business listing.


3. If you simply can't access the 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 you have lost access to a verified Google My Business location. Post in the official Google My Business help forum for assistance with local business listings.

That's why it's so important to make sure you are the owner of your business or brand's Google+ Page and YouTube channel 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.
Updated 2/23/17 to change information about Google My Business dashboard to the Brand Account dashboard, and to reflect the separation of YouTube from Google+

Posted by Peggy K

Comments

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

    Very helpful and concise article, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent resource Peggy! Thank you for sharing.

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

    ReplyDelete

  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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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: https://support.google.com/business/answer/4566671

      Delete
  5. I really enjoyed reading your article.

    ReplyDelete

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