Social Media Master Maxi Zimmer

Graphics: Igor Lazarevic

Since the league’s inception, the European Football League strived to maintain an active and engaging presence on various social media platforms. As the ELF prepares for its championship match on Sunday, September 25, IFA sat down with Maxi Zimmer, a senior member of the graphic design and social media team, and asked him a few questions about his position and the impact of the league online.

AFI: What is your title in the ELF social networks?

Max: I am the league’s main graphic designer and responsible for the brand’s appearance online and offline. I also work within our small media team to propose concepts for our social networks as well as the publication of certain parts.

AFI: What is your background and how did you come to this position?

Max: I have always been interested in digital media and sports in general. While still a fan of sports, especially football of course, I fell in love with American football when I was 8 or 9 years old. I’ve always been quite tech-savvy and had a great interest in design. So I started teaching myself After Effects when I was 12 via YouTube and then slid to the
Adobe’s entire ecosystem teaching me all of Adobe’s programs over the years, all the way to YouTube. I then started to combine this interest in design with my love for sport. After
moving across the country to hamburg for college, i looked for nearby american football teams and found the hamburg huskies. It was there that I first met Kendral Ellison. He took me on the team and let me design for them and manage their social media. After being approached about joining the league, he threw my name into the mix and that’s how it all started. I was one of the first players in the league and I was in charge of everything design related from the start.

AFI: How have you seen the league brand develop over the past year and what role do you think social media channels have played in this?

Max: It’s actually amazing how quickly we have grown and continue to grow. We saw some potential early on, but we never thought we would get this big in such a short time. It has been a crazy journey so far to orchestrate this growth and be a central part of the growth of our sport across Europe. I think social media channels have played a huge role in this.

We hardly spent any money on advertising the “old school” way and focused almost exclusively on social media. It’s a cost-effective and organic way to expand brand reach
and establish yourself throughout Europe.

AFI: What does your schedule look like in a typical week?

Max: It’s everywhere. In general, I would say it’s a 24/7 job, although there are days with more hours and others less. This is by no means a traditional work week, as social media never sleeps and there is a constant cycle of news that we must respond to. It consists of a lot of brainstorming, preparation and design. I think I haven’t closed Photoshop and Illustrator for over two years now. There is always something to design or put into models.

AFI: How do you find content to download in a slow period like the middle of the week?

Max: A lot consists of constant brainstorming and watching what other leagues, channels, teams, etc. are doing. We have constant communication between our media team and talk
of everything and everything that is happening. We are always looking to see what we can do and what we could try. Constant communication with people who are absolutely
passionate about our public image and social media is key.

AFI: What aspects of content creation do you think an average follower wouldn’t understand?

Max: It’s a full time job and we are a small team. There’s always this stigma of “socials are run by interns” and it’s just a side job. This is really not the case. There’s a lot going on in every post, even if it’s just “posting random images or highlights”. Oh and that we are humans too who have good days and bad days. Also when it comes to typos. Sorry about those, but sometimes my finger slips and it doesn’t get stuck in “control” lol. And no, if it’s a small one I’m not going to pull it out and fix it. Typos are human.

AFI: What has been your biggest challenge this year and what was it last year?

Max: Constant expansion. With each new team, another media team steps in to manage and needs to be brought up to speed. We try to get each team to consider their social networks as their most important asset and to invest in good communication and good branding. It is more and more complicated with the increase in teams. Also, the increase in players, news, coaches and more. Although we are also evolving in one way or another, the increase in the number of teams is a big challenge. But we’ve done it before and we can do it again. We are all improving day by day with the experiences we make.

AFI: In your opinion, what is the digital future of ELF?

Max: An integral part of everything. We live in the digital age and the league must be present in the digital world. We need to stay on top of recent trends and changes in the industry and we need to adapt to what works best and appeals to our fans and potential fans. We have built a solid foundation to now develop and improve the product across all channels

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