While discussing popular social networking platforms, sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn dominate our conversations. But a close runner up to the big four is Google+. The feature Google+ was first launched in 2011, and while it never saw the popularity that other social media sites have, it accumulated more than 100 million active users since its inception and release.

Despite this, Google+ plans to shut down the application entirely in April 2019 and remove all data in just a few weeks. So, what does this mean for you, and what should you do with years worth of content from this soon-to-be defunct site? The answer lies in Google My Business (GMB), Google’s new headliner that acts as an information portal, directory listing, and media site in one. Here some information about the shutdown of Google+ and how to make the switch from Google+ to Google My Business.

Google+ Shutdown Details

Starting on April 2nd, any Google+ content, pages, or accounts created since its inception will be deleted and unable to be re-accessed. This includes any images or videos stored in Google+ albums. Rest assured that the removal and deletion of Google+ will not affect any other Google services or applications—any images in Google Photos and your Google account will continue to function as usual. The shutdown is exclusive to the Google+ application, the social aspects, and content stored on the Google+ platform.

If you aren’t sure if you have a Google+ account, search your Gmail account for the line, “Your personal Google+ account is going away on April 2, 2019”. If you received an email with this as the subject line, that means you may have personal information saved on Google+ that will be deleted and removed, unless you take these steps to download it.

How can I Save My Google+ Content?

If you have been a regular user, the Google+ shut down announcement may come as somewhat of a shock or disappointment. But have no fear, the content you created will not go to waste. Rather than lose the content you’ve spent time creating for your customers, make sure you are taking all steps necessary to save it. Although the Google+ platform will be shutting down and will be inaccessible after April 3rd, you will still be able to download any posts or pictures you created and uploaded up until then.

Google recommends downloading all your Google+ data as soon as possible to avoid data loss. Simply visit this Google page and follow these instructions in order to make sure your information is not lost. 

What do I do With My Google+ Content?

Once Google+ shuts down, the Google+ content you created will no longer be accessible, providing the perfect opportunity to reuse and recycle that older content for your customers on Google My Business. Any content on Google+ should be migrated to Google My Business, where it will be useful in helping your business rank higher on search results and attract new customers. There are endless opportunities to save and repurpose your Google+ content, so don’t let it go to waste.

How to Transition to Google My Business and Set Up Your Account

If you haven’t been using Google My Business, now is the time to start. While Google My Business is a different application than Google+, they share similarities that will make the transition easy for Google+ users. Google My Business is an instant starter pack for getting the word out about your brand and is also how you get your business on Google Maps.

First, create a Google account for your business at https://www.google.com/business/ and search for your business on Google Maps. If your business isn’t listed, you’ll be given an option to create an entry from scratch for the business location in Google Maps. The link to click on will be titled “Add a place”, and it will appear in the left panel on the Maps results page. Google will ask for your physical location. If your business is purely virtual, create a listing based on where you work — the location of your home or service area, perhaps. If your business has a storefront or office, use that address. When you create an entry, a business listing creation dialog will pop up and you can add in relevant information.

How to Use Google My Business

Google My Business is a completely free Google feature that easily allows for you to claim and verify your business, answer common questions in a public way, and improve your Google ranking at the same time. Google also favors Google My Business accounts with more content, such as photos and complete profiles, so the more content you move over from Google+ to GMB, the more you will improve your SEO. Now is a great time to get started with Google My Business without losing any of the hard work you put into your Google+.

Already have a Google My Business account? Make sure you’re optimizing it so that you can derive the benefits of it, including ranking higher on Google and getting found by new customers. See how your business ranks on Google with ThriveHive’s free tool — it will assess your Google My Business listing, show you how your business compares to competitors and tell you how to improve your business listing.