Never let it be said that using social media doesn’t have its fringe benefits.

This past weekend I got the distinct honor and privilege to experience an up-close and personal VIP treatment at a Sacramento Kings NBA game.

I got invited to this experience due to my calculated influence and overall reach on Twitter, as measured by the San Francisco, CA based social media analytics organization Klout .

As I wrote last week on our technology site, THE Tech Scoop, Klout, and their Klout Perks program looks to reach out to individuals and provide recognition and reward for fostering online communication and collaboration.

What was cool about this recent experience is that Klout has worked with other major businesses, such as Virgin America Airlines, Walt Disney and Audi, to name a few, but the Sacramento Kings are the first professional sports organization to leverage Klout and provide such an opportunity to social media enthusiasts and influencers.

So how did the night go? One word – INCREDIBLE !

I took my 6 year old son and to see everything unfold in his eyes was truly priceless.

First and foremost I, as I’m sure all of the KloutStars that were in attendance, would like to give a major shout out to both the Klout team and the new media management team from the Sacramento Kings and Maloof Entertainment (Andrew Nicholson and the Sacramento Kings team really rolled out the purple carpet for us).

The night started with included parking – which in and of itself can be a big thing. Once at the Arco Arena entrance there was a special line for folks with Klout. From there we were personally escorted up to the 4th floor lounge where we were served complementary chicken tenders, cookies, drinks, and not just any old hot dog, but Kings Dogs !! Again, flash back to my 6 year old son…2nd heaven !

While enjoying these pre-game snacks, Klout CEO, Joe Fernandez and Andrew Nicholson brought in Kings Power Forward Jason Thompson to talk about how he uses social media to keep up with the news and his more than 13,000 Twitter followers.

After that, Joe gave us some background as to his vision for founding Klout and where he saw the future of social media analytics and influence tracking as a business model. In summary, the future looks bright. I specifically asked Joe about his feelings about the forthcoming analytics offering from Twitter themselves. Joe is not intimidated by that and still sees great differentiation in the value-add service Klout provides to both individuals and businesses alike.

After the interviews and discussion, Andrew brought in a couple of the ladies from the Kings Dance Team and they facilitated a Kings triva contest. Hats, jerseys and bobbleheads were among the cool prizes won. I didn’t win any of that stuff, but did get picked to have the pre-game experience of standing on court and giving each player a high-five as they ran out of the players tunnel. Major score !!

The seats we had – ridiculously cool; Row CC, which is only 4 rows from the floor allowed for everyone to get the serious up-close and personal feeling of the game. The in-seat food service and the concession coupons provided by Klout and the Kings did not go unused – I’m still eating cotton candy a day later). Mayor Kevin Johnson was in the house with his fiance, Ticha Penicheiro was in the building, saw a handful of baskeball players wives (with their big old diamond rings – I was blinded for a second looking at all them carats…), it was also good to see the Kings architect, Geoff Petrie hanging out in the tunnel.

Now on to the game. Whenn Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and crew come around you have to pay attention and not let your guard down. The Dallas Mavericks came to town and beat the Kings, literally in the final seconds, with a final score of 105-103. Great effort by the home team, but unfortunately they fell short to a pretty evenly matched opponent.

After the game, the Klout VIP treatment wasn’t over. We all gathered again on court and took a very cool group picture with Kings Guard Tyreke Evans. I know there are media activities professional athlestes have to do because of contract and league requirements, but man, it sure did show alot of class for Tyreke to come out and take that photo with us right after that nail-biter game.

It was awesome to again feel the electricity in Arco Arena as fans were cheering for their home team.

Thank you Klout for the entire experience. Thank you to the entire Sacramento Kings organization for having the foresight to understand that social media influence can turn into positive community and business initiatives.

Check out the very cool official video created by Mr. Jason Wise and the Sacramento Kings Media Team: