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Influencers are very common in online marketing. Our study claims that the influencer concept can also be applied to digital transformation projects. Influencers of digital transformation projects may contribute to visualise the benefits and to convince the end users of these projects. Therefore, we introduce the “influencer” as a new concept for user participation and investigate how it enhances the conversational key-user concept. We conducted an explorative study in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which implemented either the key user or the influencer as participation concepts for digital transformation projects. We explored the relevance of influencers, by highlighting the differences of both concepts (i.e. influencer and key user) in terms of focus, role, motivation, communication, function, direction and objective. Finally, we investigated the success factors of digital transformation in this influencer concept. Based on our results, we formalise the influencer concept enabling the further implementation within organisations.



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