Cloud9 Social Media Manager Mateus "Portilho" Portilho is a shining example of the passion and perseverance required to launch an esports career. After dropping out of college at 19, Portilho went all in on esports, working as a Social Media Coordinator for Immortals before being hired full time by Cloud9's Overwatch League franchise London Spitfire in 2018. Portilho, now the Social Media Manager for Cloud9, is responsible for the online representation of the brand in all aspects.
Portilho graced IGEC 2019 with his presence as a speaker on the panel "The Esports Conundrum: Building an Authentic Brand When Everyone's Doing the Same Thing" Cloud9 stands out amongst its peers for its best in class organizational heirarchy and fun-loving, easy going team culture.
Following IGEC 2019, Portilho sat down with Nick Geracie to discuss his role in Cloud9, his journey through esports, and the laid back culture that extends far beyond Star AD Carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi.
I'm joined by Cloud9's Portilho. What's the day-to-day look like for a social media manager?
We have a social team of four people, but full time it's Emily "Alyeska" Gonzalez-Holland and myself. The other two members are part time, so Alyeska and I have a lot of stuff to do. We have a spreadsheet with all of the tasks we need to do within the week, which includes sponsors, merchandise, content, and announcements. When Alyeska plans everything on the spread sheet that we have for our social team, I need to do my tasks and utilize social media daily.
We try to create content based around our players. I'm usually at the office working, scheduling stuff, and checking in with people. Sometimes I go to the League house and talk to the players. I'll do funny stuff with them when they are not scrimming.
When you have a good relationship built between the teams and the social media side of things, it makes for good content. For example, one day at LCS, I asked our Mid Laner Yasin "Nisqy" Dincer to do something with a can of Red Bull since they are one of our sponsors, and he was like, "Yeah, sure." I feel that if I was not friends with him and I asked him to do something like this, it would be super awkward. I don't think he would feel comfortable.
In the day-to-day, I'm in the office, tracking social media and doing my assigned tasks, and then I'll leave and go chill with the players. No matter where I am, I literally don't leave twitter. I can't. Even on off days, I tweet and check twitter all the time.
Even though I'm trying to chill and leave the social media for a while, I cannot, because if you want to be a good a good social media professional, you have to be up to date regarding everything. Not just your own team, either, but all of the teams and what is going on in the scene. That's why I always have TweetDeck open. When I wake up, the first thing I do is check Twitter. I need to be up to date on everything, so I try to not leave Twitter or Reddit because that is where things are going on.
As far as familiarizing yourself with the Cloud9 brand, what else do you do aside from getting to know the players better?
Every day, the content team has updates for us on videos they're doing or have finished. We also need to check with sponsors regarding any highlights to post on social media. Our partners, such as AT&T, BMW, and Red Bull always want to do content with us, so I need to check in with them on when sponsored content will be ready to post.
It's kind of a triangle between social media, content, and sponsors. Our partnerships team will either contact us, or they will contact the content team who will then pass the information onto us. For example, we have a series with Omen by HP called Real Academy Hero that focuses on a player on Cloud9 Academy and their professional tips for League of Legends.
When the video is ready to go, we contact the partnerships and contact teams and then team managers as well to work with the players to share the content. We also need to get in touch with team managers when we're announcing the signing of a player, or when we're helping one of our players improve their social brand. We try and get in touch with our CEO Jack Etienne when major things happen. I speak with at least one of the people I've listed every single day.
How does your job intersect with London Spitfire?
Last year, I was more focused on Spitfire. When I got fired by Immortals, I was hired by Cloud9 and started working with the Spitfire accounts from the very beginning. 100% of my work was for London Spitfire and our Overwatch Contenders team British Hurricane here and there. It's a different brand even though it is technically part of C9.
The players on Spitfire don't need to wear Puma or drink Red Bull. They have their own sponsorships with OMEN by HP and Logitech. I don't work too much with Spitfire now because we have a new social media person who focuses entirely on Spitfire. I am able still do things for Spitfire, but it's not my focus anymore. My focus is Cloud9 now.
How do you represent a professional organization who is loved for not taking things too seriously?
The balance is pretty funny. Even though everyone wants to win tournaments, they also really want to have a good time. I 100% feel that the Cloud9 community was built by memes. Everyone in our team is a memer. I'm not even just talking about the players, either. Jack is the biggest memer.
When we lose, the fans are not super furious with us. They're supportive of us in tough losses, and people love when we post self-roasting memes. What can you do when you lose? You need to just make fun out of it.
Something that Jack told me once was, "You can have fun whenever you want, but just take care of your responsibilities." I can have as much fun as I want on social media with everyone as long as I do my tasks, and I feel like players like Sneaky are the same way. Sneaky can have as much fun as he wants cosplaying...and playing with people's feelings. However, this is only true if he works hard.
At Cloud9, you can have a good time as long as you're focused on finishing your responsibilities.
So it's not that Cloud9 is the meme team, it's that every player you sign naturally has that personality. Still, it feels like the organization allows its members to be themselves.
Yeah, but still, you need to keep the balance. I've never seen a single player or staff member here super serious in personality. They're always trying to have fun and have a good time while they're working.
The environment at Cloud9 is so different compared to what I hear about other organizations. I have friends from other organizations who tell me they can't do the type of things I do because they'll look silly. I think it's important to be yourself. You can't simply be a slave to your work.
People always want to find a balance between work and play, but C9 seems to combine the two.
Dude, it's so fun in the office. We have six people in the office and we talk about random things every day, but we're still doing our work. When people are in meetings in the office, we respect the environment, because we know it's important. If there's a gap in business, we will take a break if we can. Ten minutes later, it's back to the grind.
You need to give your best and your maximum. You can have some fun and take time to chill here and there, but you make sure you do your job correctly. That has to come first.
For my last question, I want to present you with a scenario. Let's say I'm a student who's a huge Cloud9 fan, and I came to IGEC to hear you speak on your panel today. What's the number one thing C9 looks for when hiring?
C9 looks for people who are very passionate about esports. People at Cloud9 really love esports, so we always do our best to bring the industry up. I've never seen someone at C9 complain about their job. If you're really passionate about something you want to do, I don't think you should give up. I quit college at 19 to pursue my dream of working in esports. I fought for this.
It's going to be hard in the beginning to get hired by a big company. Alyeska was rejected three times by Blizzard, and it was her dream to work there. But she didn't give up. Alyeska mentioned in the panel that she doesn't have any marketing experience on her résumé. She was simply very passionate about esports, specifically Smash and Heroes of the Storm, and she did a lot of volunteer jobs after being rejected by Blizzard. She was then hired by U.S.N.A.V.Y. and now, Cloud9.
Perseverance is key. I had to fight my parents on this, and it was a very tough time. I dropped out of college in April 2017, and those next few months was the worst time ever. Every day I argued with them about my job when I was a part time Social Media Coordinator for Immortals. Now, they see that while the esports industry is a new thing, it is a viable career path. I'm living here by myself and living the dream, and now they support me. Persevere.