Note to Small Businesses: As we have noted before, your advertising dollars are very, very important to the longterm success of Facebook, but only a fraction of you use Facebook for advertising. For Facebook to succeed longterm, they need for you to use Facebook to discover new customers and build long relationships with existing ones. In other words, Facebook believes if it can help you succeed, you can help them succeed.

To help make that happen, today Facebook announced a five-city tour for this summer called Facebook Fit. Along with information on using Facebook, the day-long events will have representatives of Intuit QuickBooks, LegalZoom and Square and will feature authors Rhonda Abrams and entrepreneur Mario Armstrong.

For the record, we think Facebook is a great way to build relationships with customers. We even have a Facebook page where we hope you Like (AND FOLLOW) us. However, the first question we’d want answered at Facebook Fit is the one we often get asked by visitors to SmallBusiness.com: “Why don’t customers who indicate they “like” us on Facebook ever see our updates?”

We think the answer is, “get them to follow you, not just like you.” But there must be something inherently confusing about that, as it is one of the most consistently asked questions we receive.  Also, we see lots of businesses that add messages on their ads that say, “Like us on Facebook,” so they obviously don’t understand those people who just like them, and don’t FOLLOW them, may never see a message from the company again. (Oh, unless, the company pays to “boost” their status update.)

Anyway…

Here are the five cities the tour will visit.:

New York – June 3
Miami – June 19
Chicago – July 10
Austin – July 24
Menlo Park – August 5

Are we right about that “like” vs. “follow” advice? If so, why should a small business ask customers to “like” instead of “following” them? (Feel free to comment.)