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What’s the price of influence? It may just be a free trip to Seattle.

While the digerati, including Wired in its May issue, debate the true influence of high-scorers on the social media ranking site Klout, the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau declares its Klout-centric experiment a rousing success.

Early this year, the SCVB invited 30 individuals in the “key visitor feeder markets” of Portland, Vancouver B.C. and San Francisco, with Klout scores over 50 and with at least 1,000 Twitter followers, to come to Seattle. Important, noted Director of Marketing Ali Daniels, was that “they needed to be influential in the areas we were focusing on for our campaign — arts, culture, food, wine and music.”

Those invited could bring a guest, and visited over one of three weekends in February. SCVB picked up the cost of transportation, hotels, passes to local cultural institutions and attractions and a $500 gift card. And — not surprisingly — SCVB encouraged use of the Twitter hashtag #2DaysInSeattle and the campaign website

The results, Daniels says, exceeded expectations.

“Each influencer averaged 8.2 Tweets & Shares,” she says, “which resulted in 19,645 total Tweets, Retweets, Shares, Comments, and Likes.  Overall 30 influencers resulted in 3.3 million in True Reach, 19.5 million True Impressions and 39.1 million Total Impressions.”

Daniels says the February visits of the Klout invitees inspired others:  “Consumers are taking the lead from the influencers and are tweeting about their 2 Days in Seattle as recently as last weekend.”

Overall, she says, it  was an important part of the SCVB Q1 media campaign.

Would they do it again? “Absolutely.”

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